Top N17 judge claims time is running out

The head judge at the ongoing November 17 terrorism trial yesterday berated defense counsels for deciding to join in a lawyers’ strike next week. Michalis Margaritis, who in the past has accused the defense of trying to hold up the marathon trial, said further delays could lead to some of the defendants being released from prison, as suspects can only be held in custody for 18 months before being sentenced. All but three of the 19 defendants were detained in July and August 2002. Two have already been freed from custody, but are obliged to turn up in court every day. The trial opened on March 3. «You are responsible in the eyes of the people,» an angry Margaritis told defense lawyers who announced they would take part in an Athens Bar Association strike on Monday and Tuesday. «We will come and hold normal sessions. There is the danger of the 18-month period expiring.»