N17 trial enters its last phase

Just over half a year after 19 suspected November 17 terrorists first sat in the dock in a specially built courtroom within Korydallos Prison, a new phase of the trial opens today with prosecutors summing up their case against the defendants. Last week, defendants ended their testimonies, which started on July 24 with the reading of a political manifesto by N17’s alleged chief hitman, 45-year-old beekeeper Dimitris Koufodinas. This followed the end of a cycle of evidence provided by prosecution and defense witnesses. In today’s 116th session of the trial that started on March 3, prosecutor Christos Lambrou is expected to go through the charges and make his case against the suspects, calling for convictions. Although in theory Lambrou and his deputy, Vassilis Markis, could also call for the acquittal of some of the defendants, this is considered unlikely – with the possible exception of veteran unionist Yiannis Serifis, 65, who was only implicated in terrorist activity before 1980 and would be exempt from punishment under the 20-year statute of limitations. The prosecutors might also advocate clemency for N17 penitents Constantinos Telios, Sotiris Kondylis and Patroklos Tselentis, who provided the prosecution with valuable evidence against other defendants, including alleged group mastermind Alexandros Yotopoulos. Once the prosecutors are done, lawyers representing victims or surviving targets of the group will take the stand. They will be followed by defense lawyers. N17 killed 23 people in attacks between 1975 and 2000. The group’s downfall followed the explosion, on June 29, 2002, of a bomb in the hands of 41-year-old icon-painter Savvas Xeros. Xeros gave police enough leads to arrest a string of suspects that included two of his brothers.

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