NEWS

Prosecution in ELA trial trims charges

The prosecutor in the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) case yesterday called for the conviction of four of the five defendants as accomplices of a terrorist group, arguing that the instigators and perpetrators of its activities were not in the Korydallos prison court’s dock. Whatever the three-judge court decides later, all the defendants can leave prison on Monday when the 18-month maximum pretrial detention period expires. Architect Christos Tsigaridas, 64, civil engineer Costas Agapiou, 56, electrician and former mayor of Kimolos Angeletos Kanas, 52, travel agency employee Irini Athanassaki, 48 and civil servant Michalis Kassimis, 58, are accused of ELA membership and involvement in 82 acts of terrorism carried out between 1983 and 1995. ELA was active from 1975 to 1995. The indictment says the group continued to exist because its last proclamation declared, «The struggle continues.» The charges include two murders – the 1989 killing of Supreme Court Deputy Prosecutor Anastassios Vernardos and the 1994 murder of policeman Apostolos Vellios – and the 1987 attempted murder of Giorgos Raftopoulos, who was then chairman of Greece’s largest labor umbrella group. Agapiou, Kanas and Athanassaki have been in custody during the trial. Tsigaridas (the only defendant to acknowledge membership of ELA) and Kassimis were free on bail because of health problems. The court has also decided to break from August 6 until September 2, when defense lawyers are to begin arguments. Today, lawyers representing victims will speak. On the second day of his summation, prosecutor Eleftherios Patsis said he did not think Kassimis was a member of ELA or any other group but called for his conviction for involvement in the attempted murder of labor leader Raftopoulos. Regarding the other four, Patsis called for their conviction for being members of a terrorist group, being simple accessories to explosions and the murders of Vernardos and Vellios and 70 attempted murders. If the court accepts these charges, the defendants will escape life imprisonment. Patsis said on Tuesday that the defendants were members of one of four ELA cells.