Questions remain over Nov17

The 6,650-page reasoning of the court that convicted 15 members of the November 17 gang to long prison terms last year confirms a most important point that was made in the indictment before the trial: Some members of November 17 are unknown and are still at large. The three-judge court tried 19 suspects and heard evidence from some 1,400 witnesses regarding crimes from the group’s first murder in December 1975 until a bomb exploded in the hands of one of its chief operatives, Savvas Xeros, in June 2002. The reasoning was withheld from the news media on Wednesday when the head of the appeals court administration, Haridimos Papadakis, said privacy laws protecting defendants would be violated. After a storm of protests, it was released on Friday. Among its many findings, the reasoning said that the «executive secretariat» of the group comprised Alexandros Yotopoulos, Nikos Papanastasiou, Pavlos Serifis and «other persons unknown to the process.» It added that «according to one of the court’s three members, this included Yiannis Serifis.» Serifis, a veteran trade unionist, was acquitted. Yotopoulos received 21 life terms as leader of the group while Papanastasiou and Pavlos Serifis each got eight years. «From all the evidence, the court concludes the Revolutionary Organization November 17 was formed immediately after the restoration of democracy (in 1974) by Alexandros Yotopoulos, Nikos Papanastasiou, Pavlos Serifis and two or more other persons unknown to the procedure, including a blonde, good-looking woman called ‘Anna’,» the court said. As for chief operative Dimitris Koufodinas, it noted that when he turned himself in, his hardline stand made others, including Savvas and Christodoulos Xeros, retract their confessions.