November 17 defense takes stand

The first of some 30 defense lawyers in the November 17 trial to take the stand yesterday espoused many of her client’s political arguments, accusing police of «terrorism» and attacking lawyers representing families of the group’s victims. Ioanna Kourtovic, who represents alleged N17 chief hit man Dimitris Koufodinas and his wife, Angeliki Sotiropoulou, told the court that her clients «do not look to a fair trial.» «As Dimitris Koufodinas would have said, this case concerns an incident in a social war and reveals a political confrontation,» she argued. Kourtovic said the group’s 1989 assassination of conservative MP Pavlos Bakoyiannis «was a crowning political act,» adding that «ideas [as a motive force] can even make heroes of criminals.» And she described a police public appeal for information on Koufodinas in the summer of 2002 – when her client was Greece’s most wanted man – as «the greatest terrorist proclamation of that period.» Kourtovic also accused lawyers for N17 victims’ families of «insulting the dead» by «using them» to secure convictions.