Nov17 penitent’s tale

With a faltering voice, a self-confessed member of November 17 offered a detailed picture of his experiences in the terrorist group yesterday, including a meeting with a cabal of hooded members after he objected to N17’s actions. «Judge me and condemn me not for what I have done, but for what I did not do – for not being able to end the activities of N17 and help end all that Greek society endured because of this organization,» Costas Telios, a 40-year-old primary school teacher told the court in Korydallos Prison. He turned himself in on July 23 last year in his native Thessaloniki. He said he left the group in 1992. Telios, one of a handful of penitents among the 19 defendants, described a life of fear, saying his feelings of guilt caused a nervous breakdown. Members, he said, spoke of the gang as «the company» and dissenters faced «dismissal.» Telios said that while on holiday on Icaria in 1987 he met fellow defendant Christodoulos Xeros, who later introduced him to his brother Savvas and Vassilis Tzortzatos. They, along with suspected chief operative Dimitris Koufodinas, formed one of the group’s three tiers, Telios said. Above them were «Lambros» (the code name of alleged mastermind Alexandros Yotopoulos), «Nikitas» (believed to be Nikos Papanastasiou) and a third man about whom Telios said he knew nothing. «Haris» (said to be Iraklis Kostaris) was in the third tier, he said. Telios said his objections to N17’s actions drew a threat of «dismissal» from Christodoulos Xeros. Telios said he was brought before the hooded members of the first tier. Telios said he acted as a lookout in the Jan. 1, 1989 attack on prosecutor Constantinos Androulidakis. Christodoulos Xeros, he said, referred to the victim as being «sawed up» because doctors amputated his legs bit by bit in a vain bid to save him from gangrene. Telios also took part in an attack on a finance minister in July 1992 which killed a 22-year-old bystander, a bank robbery in 1990 and had rented a hideout in Thessaloniki. He said N17 was «dogmatic» and «militaristic» and believed that others would follow its example. Defense lawyers asked for a psychiatric evaluation of Telios.