Temporary release of N17 terrorist raises political storm


A decision by prison authorities to grant a two-day furlough to convicted November 17 terrorist Dimitris Koufodinas raised a storm of reactions on Thursday, foremost from New Democracy lawmaker Dora Bakoyannis, whose husband, Pavlos Bakoyannis, was gunned down by the radical Marxist group outside his downtown Athens office in 1989.

“How can they grant leave to November 17’s gun? Mr Koufodinas will be going around Athens tomorrow a free man?” Bakoyannis wrote on her Twitter account late on Wednesday night when news of Koufodinas’s application for furlough was first made public.

“Any form of leave to Koufodinas is unthinkable,” tweeted New Democracy’s chief, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “Not just because his heinous actions are against democracy, but because he has never expressed any remorse for them and remains an ideological mentor for the new generation of terrorists.”

Koufodinas, identified as November 17’s chief of operations, is serving consecutive life sentences at the capital’s Korydallos Prison for his involvement in 11 assassinations, among other crimes. He is due to be released for two days starting on Thursday in what will be his first time outside prison in 15 years.

The decision to grant him furlough was also slammed by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, a lawyer and former ombudsman who is currently running for the leadership of a new center-left party. “Criminals like Koufodinas should not be allowed out of prison; I would be interested to read the reasoning behind the decision,” he told Skai TV.

Dimitris Kammenos, a lawmaker with Independent Greeks, the junior partner in Greece’s coalition government, also expressed his opposition to the decision “because Koufodinas has been convicted under the law on terrorism and this law condemns those who turn against the state and democracy to life in prison. And when we say life, we need to mean life,” he told the Parapolitika website.

Speaking on Action 24 TV, Greek Communist Party (KKE) MP Liana Kanelli said the decision is “profoundly galling.”