N17 lawyers protest

The trial of 19 suspected members of the November 17 terrorist group resumed yesterday after a short summer break with testimony by Theologos Psaradellis, a well-known Trotskyite who denies being a member of the group but admits having taken part in a bank robbery in 1983, claiming he did not know that other robbers were members of N17. The proceedings, after an 11-day break, were dominated by a protest by 13 defense lawyers who warned they will stage a three-day walkout from Monday unless suspect Anestis Papanastasiou, a bank clerk arrested seven months ago, is released on bail and the prosecutor who refused to release him is punished. Presiding Judge Michalis Margaritis declared: «Gentlemen, you don’t want the trial to go ahead.» The lawyers refused his proposal for a one-day protest. Prosecutor Christos Lambrou accused them of trying to extort a favorable decision. Margaritis warned, «If you want to come, come. We will be here and we’ll see what we do. We might appoint other lawyers. We’ll see.» Psaradellis, a 60-year-old retired printer, is accused of being a founding member of N17, along with alleged mastermind Alexandros Yotopoulos, Yiannis Serifis, Pavlos Serifis and Nikos Papanastasiou, and of being part of the group from 1978 up to his arrest on July 18, 2002. Psaradellis is well known for his participation in anti-junta activities and a daring escape from prison during the 1967-74 dictatorship. «I was never a member of N17, I took part only in a robbery in 1983, which has been written off under the statute of limitations,» he said. «They accuse me not for the robbery but for being a member of an organization that aimed to overturn the political system through terrorism.» He insisted the robbery was in 1983, not in 1986 as he admitted earlier. He has said he was denied his cut, which was intended to finance the publication of the works of Pantelis Pouliopoulos, who introduced Trotskyism to Greece. Psaradellis said that even during the dictatorship his group had opposed violence. He claimed that the ruling PASOK party’s late founder had introduced terrorism to Greece at that time. «Andreas Papandreou issued the call for an armed struggle,» he said. «I thought he was just trying to mislead the people with all this.»