N17 sentencing nears

After a one-day break in the November 17 trial yesterday, prosecutor Christos Lambrou will propose sentences today for the 15 defendants convicted for membership in the left-wing terrorist group. Several of the defendants face heavy sentences. Among them are Alexandros Yotopoulos, the group mastermind whom the court found guilty of 961 of the 963 charges he faced, Dimitris Koufodinas, the organization’s main executioner in the 1980s and 1990s, the brothers Savvas and Christodoulos Xeros, Vassilis Tzortzatos and Iraklis Kostaris, all of whom were convicted for their direct involvement in assassinations. Lambrou is expected to propose multiple life terms for all of them. Defendants Constantinos Karatsolis, Pavlos Serifis, Nikos Papanastasiou, Vassilis Xeros, Dionyssis Georgiadis and Pavlos Serifis have been convicted of lesser charges but most still face stiff sentences. Patroclos Tselentis, Sotiris Kondylis, Thomas Serifis and Costas Telios have all expressed remorse for their membership of November 17 and their actions and have collaborated, in varying degrees, with the authorities. Legal experts believe the prosecutor will seek reduced sentences for them, although the severity of their crimes varies. It will take a few days for the court to decide on the sentences. The date of the announcement is expected to be delayed by a 48-hour lawyers’ strike tomorrow and Friday. The handing out of the sentences will mark the end of the nine-month trial. However, it is certain that almost all convicted defendants will appeal their sentences, while there is speculation that prosecutor Lambrou may appeal against the acquittal of Angeliki Sotiropoulou, Koufodinas’s wife, and Theologos Psaradellis. Both were acquitted by a 2-1 majority, while Anestis Papanastasiou and Yiannis Serifis were unanimously cleared. Police linked four gas-canister bomb explosions in Thessaloniki early yesterday to Monday’s verdict on the defendants’ guilt and today’s proposals by the prosecutor. The explosions, all of which took place within six minutes, targeted two local branches of the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), an OTE office and a supermarket. No one was injured. Police pointed out that such incidents had taken place before during important parts of the November 17 trial.