NEWS

ELA trial reopens after poll

After a nine-day recess forced by the national elections, the trial of five suspected members of the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorist group opens again today in a Korydallos Prison courtroom. The trial began on February 9, but so far only one of some 470 witnesses on the list to testify has been comprehensively examined. Prosecution witness Nikos Taraviras, a resident in a Pangrati block of flats where the left-wing group allegedly had a safe house in the 1980s, said he had not seen any of the defendants in the building. A key prosecution witness, journalist Vassilis Zissis, started his testimony last week but then failed to reappear and presiding judge Elissavet Brilli ordered police to escort him to court today. Court sources have expressed fears that the trial may drag on until early August, forcing authorities to free the three suspects detained in Korydallos since early 2003 as the 18-month maximum pre-sentencing detention period will have expired. The other two defendants are not in custody. The charges include two murders and a total of 82 acts of terrorism.