N17 terrorism trial reopens

Following an 11-day summer break, the trial of 19 suspected November 17 terrorists resumes today in Korydallos Prison with more testimonies from the defendants. Once judges and lawyers have finished questioning Dionysis Georgiadis – at 27, the youngest suspect in the dock – Theologos Psaradellis, 60, a retired printer, will be the eighth person to testify. The trial started on March 3 in a specially renovated courtroom inside the high-security Athens prison, and has so far got through the examination of hundreds of prosecution and defense witnesses. The suspects began to testify on July 24, starting with N17’s alleged chief hit man, 45-year-old beekeeper Dimitris Koufodinas. But, with the exception of the expletive-laced appearance by musical instrument-maker Christodoulos Xeros, things only started to heat up when self-confessed N17 member Patroclos Tselentis gave testimony. He implicated alleged N17 mastermind Alexandros Yotopoulos and claimed the terrorists had once considered opening a fast-food eatery in Syntagma Square as a law-abiding alternative to bank robberies. All this drove several of his fellow-defendants to denounce Tselentis as a liar who had sold out to the authorities in return for a lenient sentence. Psaradellis, who is expected to start testifying today, has denied all charges – with the exception of participation in a 1986 bank robbery – and claims he is being persecuted by the USA for his resistance to the 1967-74 military dictatorship. Psaradellis said he needed the money from the heist on a National Bank of Greece branch in the Athens district of Kypseli to finance a book on Greek Trotskyite Pantelis Pouliopoulos. Psaradellis – who says he was cheated out of his share of the loot – claims he was not aware that the robbery was connected with N17.