Voulgarakis: Nov17 file is still open

Six months after several members of November 17 were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms, Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis declared yesterday that the file was still open and the investigation into Greece’s deadliest terrorist gang was continuing. Both he and Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis, whose husband was murdered by the group, said many issues were still open. «It is certain that some questions were answered, but there are still many others that have not been answered and for this reason the November 17 file remains open and the investigations continue. It is a fact that the operational arm of the organization has been dismantled, but there are unseen aspects which must still come to light,» Voulgarakis said. He was speaking at the launch of a book on the gang’s trial by journalist Michalis Dimitriou. «Many basic questions as to who conceived of the idea (of the group) and what they were trying to achieve with November 17 have not been answered,» Bakoyannis added. «Even today, I am not certain that we know the whole truth regarding the members and aims of November 17. Some of their acts, such as the murder of Pavlos Bakoyannis, have led us to the conclusion that they wanted to harm the smooth functioning of the democratic state. Other acts cannot be explained sufficiently,» she said. Bakoyannis’s husband, a member of Parliament, was gunned down in the lobby of his office building in 1989. She was prominent in trying to raise a mostly apathetic public’s awareness of the problem of terrorism. «Questions remain regarding the effectiveness of the State – including, for a long time, its (lack of) will to stamp out terrorism – and the position taken by a section of our society. And these are painful questions,» she said in an apparent reference to demonstrations held in favor of the November 17 members. Voulgarakis referred to the many years of fruitless efforts to wipe out the gang, which first appeared in 1975. «The political climate, the atmosphere in political life, (the lack of) will, the legislative framework and the legal conditions all played a role, creating a vicious cycle of timidity and ineffectiveness,» he said.