Early release for ELA terrorist

A member of the extreme left-wing Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA), sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for his part in the terrorist organization, is due to be released from prison today on grounds of ill health, following a court decision yesterday, after serving just three months of his term. Christos Tsigaridas, a 64-year-old architect, petitioned to be released from maximum-security Korydallos Prison because he suffers from serious heart trouble as well as problems with his vision. Two doctors told the appeal court yesterday that Tsigaridas was in urgent need of high-quality medical treatment that he could not receive in jail. Tsigaridas was one of four people, three men and one woman, sentenced on October 11 after an eight-month trial for their involvement in a string of terrorist attacks carried out by ELA. Tsigaridas was the only defendant to admit membership in the group. ELA was founded in the mid-1970s and until January 1995, when the group announced it was ceasing operations, had killed two people in a series of bombings and assassination attempts on mainly police and US-linked targets. Tsigaridas, along with former Kimolos Mayor Angeletos Kanas, civil engineer Costas Agapiou and travel agency employee Irini Athanassaki, were found guilty of complicity in the 1994 assassination of police officer Apostolos Vellios, as well as in 48 attempted murders and 42 bomb attacks and attempted bombings. Tsigaridas, Kanas and Athanassaki were also convicted of obtaining and possessing bombs and explosives. Tsigaridas was granted bail of 8,000 euros by the appeal court yesterday. He will also be barred from leaving the country and will have to appear at his local police station twice a month.