NEWS

Proposal for 55 life terms

In a rowdy courtroom, which twice forced the presiding judge to suspend proceedings, Prosecutor Christos Lambrou yesterday called for the full weight of the law to come down on most of the 15 men found guilty of being members of the November 17 terrorist gang. He proposed a record total of 55 life sentences on six defendants and thousands of years of imprisonment for the group’s 27-year spree of murder, explosions and robberies. November 17 claimed 23 murders between December 1975 and June 2000, before its collapse in 2002. But because of a 20-year statute of limitations, the trial does not cover murders before 1984. The trial will continue on Monday with arguments for leniency by defense lawyers, before the three judges withdraw to consider the sentences. Judges do not necessarily follow prosecutors’ proposals. «The ax of the law has come down and beheaded the law,» declared Alexandros Yotopoulos, who was convicted on Monday of being the gang’s mastermind. Lambrou proposed that he serve a total of 21 life terms and 2,442 years in prison. Dimitris Koufodinas, N17’s chief of operations and main hit man, should serve 13 life terms and 2,402 years, the prosecutor proposed. Christodoulos Xeros and his brother Savvas should serve 10 and six life terms, respectively, while Vassilis Tzortzatos should serve four life terms and Iraklis Kostaris one term, Lambrou said. Several of the convicted N17 members shouted insults at Lambrou. According to the law, life imprisonment is symbolic and equal to a 25-year term. Convicts must serve at least 16 years of a life term before being eligible to apply for parole. If sentenced to more than one life term, they must serve at least 20 years before being eligible for parole. Other sentences will run concurrently, with 25-year terms being the maximum and with the convict being eligible for parole after serving three-fifths of this term. «The members’ crimes deprived people of their lives; they hurt democracy and social life; they sullied our country’s name abroad. (N17) was a deeply fascist faction with a Stalinist mentality,» Lambrou said. He was then assailed as a fascist himself by leading N17 members. Lambrou expressed sympathy for penitent members Constantinos Telios, Sotiris Kondylis, Patroklos Tselentis and Thomas Serifis and said he was likely to propose softer sentences for them. Proposed sentences Alexandros Yotopoulos: 21 life terms, 2,442 years, 58,500 euros. Dimitris Koufodinas: 13 life terms, 2,402 years, 67,500 euros. Christodoulos Xeros: 10 life terms, 1,642 years, 13,500 euros. Savvas Xeros: 6 life terms, 2,035 years, 67,500 euros. Iraklis Kostaris: 1 life term, 73 years, 1,500 euros. Vassilis Tzortzatos: 4 life terms, 1,530 years, 13,500 euros. Constantinos Karatsolis: 48 years. Vassilis Xeros: 164 years, 19,500 euros. Thomas Serifis: 37 years. Dionysis Georgiadis: 17 years, 1,500 euros. Constantinos Telios: 112 years. Sotiris Kondylis: 49 years. Patroklos Tselentis: 371 years. Pavlos Serifis: 10 years. Nikos Papanastasiou: 10 years.