N17 suspects have had their say

After a stormy court session in which November 17’s alleged mastermind refused to be questioned side-by-side with an N17 penitent who has implicated him, the cycle of testimonies by all 19 defendants ended yesterday. Paris-born translator Alexandros Yotopoulos, 59, who denies any involvement with the terrorist group, claiming to have been framed by the US and British secret services, insisted that Patroklos Tselentis had lied to incriminate him, in order to secure a lenient sentence. «Patroklos Tselentis is a miserable, sneaky little man who wants me condemned,» Yotopoulos shouted. «I will not comply» with being cross-examined with Tselentis. Tselentis said Yotopoulos was a coward for not having owned up to his alleged top N17 role. «He is hiding behind his shadow, claiming that others wrote his letters and stole his fingerprints,» he said. On Thursday, Yotopoulos defended himself against prosecution evidence, saying his fingerprints found on N17 documents had been planted by the authorities, while samples of his writing on N17 draft declarations were faked. Prosecutor Christos Lambrou also attacked Yotopoulos – who refused to answer questions by lawyers representing families of N17 victims and surviving group targets – calling him «a man without name or surname who wears hoods and masks and… fears the truth.» After Yotopoulos, the last N17 defendant on the list, 41-year-old bank employee Anestis Papanastasiou, denied any terrorism link, saying he disagreed with the group’s politics. «People who kill debase themselves,» he said. His cousin and fellow-defendant Nikos Papanastasiou backed his claim of innocence. On Tuesday, Lambrou is to make the prosecution’s case against the defendants and call for their sentencing.

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