N17 penitent points finger at Yotopoulos

Patroklos Tselentis was the first among the November 17 terrorist suspects on trial to give a full account of his actions as a group member before the court, in his testimony which began yesterday. Among the defendants who have testified thus far, Dimitris Koufodinas admitted his membership in the terrorist group but refused to provide any details, attempting instead an ideological justification for its actions; the brothers Savvas and Christodoulos Xeros, as well as Vassilis Tzortzatos, all three of whom had made detailed confessions after their arrests only to retract them later, accused authorities of using psychological pressure, torture and drugs to extract their confessions. Tselentis had long indicated he would follow a different course. Yesterday, he described his involvement, and that of others, in detail. In an emotional opening statement, Tselentis asked for forgiveness from the relatives of those «whose lives I consented to destroy and to damage» as well as from those who knew him and from whom he had concealed his activities. «I hope my present stance and the sentence you will impose on me will serve as the beginning of a catharsis. Because this catharsis will never take place inside of me,» he told the court. Tselentis, 43, who last year had admitted membership in November 17 between 1983 and 1988, said he had met Koufodinas in 1982, when both were university students. It was Koufodinas who inducted him into November 17, without revealing its name. He described in detail eight of the nine actions he admitted taking part in, both assassinations and bank robberies. He denied ever having killed someone, although he admitted shooting at Panayiotis Roussetis, the driver of publisher Nikos Momferatos, and missing. He identified as his accomplices in the various crimes Koufodinas, the two Xeros brothers, Tzortzatos, Alexandros Yotopoulos, the alleged mastermind, and Yiannis Skandalis, a member who was killed years ago in a road accident. A flustered Yotopoulos was saying after the end of today’s session that Tselentis’s deposition was a false one dictated by authorities. Tselentis will continue his deposition today.