US and Turkey express concern about possible early release of N17’s Xeros

The American and Turkish governments have expressed concern about the possible early release of November 17’s Savvas Xeros after Parliament passed a law on Friday permitting inmates with heavy disabilities to see out their sentences under house arrest.

A US State Department told reporters on Sunday that Washington is “concerned” that the legislation, aimed at easing overcrowding in Greek jails, would lead to convicted terrorists being released.

It is expected that the issue will be part of the agenda of talks between US State Secretary John Kerry and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias when they meet in Washington on Monday.

Xeros was convicted, among other things, of murdering with a car bomb in 1988 Captain William Nordeen, the US Defense and Naval Attaché to Greece, and killing US Air Force sergeant Ronald Stewart three years later.

Turkey also expressed its concern about the possible release of Xeros, according to Daily Sabah newspaper. November 17 was found guity of murdering Turkish diplomats Çetin Görgü in 1991 and Haluk Sipahioğlu in 1994 and planting a car bomb attack that injured Turkish Charge D’affaires Deniz Bölükbaşı in 1991.

Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said any move to commute the sentences of November 17 members would be viewed by Ankara as «weakness in counterterrorism efforts and a serious violation of rights of victims of terror attacks.”

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