US ambassador deplores Koufodinas release

US ambassador deplores Koufodinas release

The decision to grant a 48-hour furlough to convicted November 17 terrorist Dimitris Koufodinas was deplored on Thursday by US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who said it dishonors the memory of the victims and their families.

“I add my voice to those from across Greece’s political spectrum deploring [the] prison council decision to release a convicted terrorist, murderer and N17 leader. Our democracies rest on independent judicial institutions, but today’s furlough dishonors the victims memory and their families,” he tweeted on Thursday.

In response to the criticism for the release of Koufodinas, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis told lawmakers in Parliament on Thursday that unbiased implementation of the law is what constitutes a state governed by law and order.

“If the law is bad, then we’re open to opinions,” Kontonis said, addressing lawmakers with the opposition New Democracy party. “But the 2009 amendment was yours, [introduced by then citizens’ protection minister Nikos] Mr Dendias’s. If you didn’t want it, you should have changed it.”

Kontonis went on to stress that the process of prison leave is not intended to applaud or show tolerance for any inmate’s actions.

“Koufodinas is not being released, nor are his actions being judged again,” said Kontonis, adding that the inmate is not being judged on his opinions.

The minister added that the decision did not rest with the government but with prison authorities. “Demanding explanations from the government over a body that you legislated is really crossing the line,” he said.

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