NEWS

In Brief

SAILORS FREED

Last two crew members of fuel tanker can leave Georgia, ministry says Two crew members of a Greek-flagged fuel tanker, who have been in detention at the Georgian port of Poti for the past two weeks, have been allowed to return home, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday. Georgian authorities had released the other 11 crew members of the Vassileios 16 earlier this week. The sailors had been detained for violating a fuel embargo imposed upon the secessionist province of Abkhazia. Georgian authorities say the tanker delivered a consignment of oil to the port of Sukhumi in September 2002. ELA TRIAL N17 member, acquitted defendant linked with prosecutor’s killing A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of five alleged Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) terrorists yesterday linked convicted November 17 terrorist Constantinos Telios and Angeliki Sotiropoulou, who was cleared of N17 membership in December, with the 1989 murder of prosecutor Anastassios Vernardos, which had been claimed by ELA. Spyros Christou, the former husband of Vernardos’s daughter, told the court that he was certain he saw Telios and Sotiropoulou «moving suspiciously» outside Vernardos’s home a few days before the murder. DIKKI PROTEST Party objects to election ban The temporary administrative committee of the Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) yesterday criticized a Supreme Court decision barring it from participating in forthcoming European elections. The court yesterday rejected an appeal by the committee against an earlier decision barring the party from the June 13 vote. Last month, a court upheld an injunction lodged by the committee against a decision by party founder Dimitris Tsovolas to dissolve the party he had founded after it failed to enter Parliament for the second consecutive time. Normandy visit President Costis Stephanopoulos is to visit Normandy tomorrow to attend celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the WW II allied D-Day landings and the liberation of France. Stephanopoulos has been invited to the event by French President Jacques Chirac. Acropolis rally World champion Petter Solberg was 55 seconds in the lead at the end of the first leg of the Acropolis Rally which started in Lamia yesterday. Driving a Subaru, the Norwegian and his British co-driver Philip Mills led Finland’s Harri Rovanpera, who was at the wheel of a Peugeot 307. Kidnapping Police are seeking a young man believed to have kidnapped a 24-year-old woman from outside her Athens home and driven around with her in the trunk of her car before abandoning her at the Attiko Alsos forest above Psychico. The woman, who was found by passers-by, told police that the man – whom she claimed to have never seen before – grabbed her while she had been getting into her car and tied her up before bundling her into the trunk. Doctors said the woman had sustained minor injuries. Iran aid Greece is donating 100,000 euros in humanitarian aid to Tehran for earthquake victims in the city of Bam, Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis told his visiting Iranian counterpart, Ali Ahani, yesterday. More than 20,000 people died when a strong earthquake hit the ancient city in southeastern Iran last December. Copped A Thessaloniki policeman was yesterday arrested by local internal affairs officers and charged with illegally smuggling migrants into Greece. The unnamed officer allegedly used his own car to transport migrants. Communist ire Members of the Communist Party in Thessaloniki yesterday stopped a scheduled appearance at a University of Macedonia international conference by French historian Stephane Courtois, the author of the «Black Book of Communism» – a historical documentation of crimes committed by Communist regimes. During a press conference earlier yesterday, party members had condemned Courtois’s planned appearance as «an undisguised anti-Communist intervention in the city.» The conference venue had to be moved from the campus to a hotel.