Trial call for ELA, May 1 suspects

As two more defendants in the November 17 trial denied any link with the terrorist organization, a senior prosecutor yesterday recommended that five people should stand trial for alleged membership in another two extreme left-wing groups. N17 suspects Constantinos Karatsolis and Iraklis Costaris, both 37, denied the charges. Karatsolis had confessed after their July 2002 arrest, but then retracted his statement. Also yesterday, 27 defense lawyers said they would abstain from the trial on Monday and Tuesday in protest at the detention of defendant Anestis Papanastasiou, 41, despite the fact that his temporary holding order has expired. This drew an angry response from presiding Judge Michalis Margaritis, who threatened to have the lawyers replaced. The Council of Appeals Court Judges is expected to rule on Papanastasiou’s detention on Tuesday. Meanwhile, in his report to the Council of Appeals Court Judges – which ordered the trial of the 19 N17 suspects – appeals court prosecutor Antonis Mytis recommended that four people charged with Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) membership should be tried by a three-judge criminal appeals court. Mytis advised the same regarding Michalis Kassimis, a 58-year-old civil servant who has been charged with ELA membership as well as instigating the 1987 attempted murder of a top Athens unionist, for which the May 1 group claimed responsibility. It appears that the prosecutor did not call for Kassimis to stand trial for ELA membership. Kassimis was arrested on April 2 but was later released on bail. The four ELA suspects, arrested in February, are architect Christos Tsigaridas, 64, former Kimolos Mayor Angeletos Kanas, 52, civil engineer Costas Agapiou, 56 and tourist agency employee Irini Athanassaki, 48.