Second ELA terror trial starts with familiar faces

Four months after the Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) trial ended, all four convicted members of the extreme left-wing terror group appeared in court again yesterday to face supplementary bombing charges. Also on trial are an ELA suspect acquitted in the first trial and a man cleared over a year ago of being a November 17 terrorist. The opening of the second ELA trial coincided with a decision by an Athens appeals court to release, on grounds of poor health, convicted November 17 terrorist Pavlos Serifis, 49, pending the hearing of his appeal at the end of this year. Serifis, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was sentenced to eight years in prison for membership of the extreme left-wing group in December 2003. He will have to post bail of 6,000 euros, stay in Attica and appear at his local police station twice a month. While jailing 15 members of N17 – which killed 23 people between 1975 and 2000 – the court that convicted Serifis acquitted his relative, veteran trade unionist Yiannis Serifis, 67. But yesterday, Yiannis Serifis appeared in the dock again on charges of ELA membership – police believe the two groups were closely linked – and participation in a 1993 bombing in which a police officer was killed. Also in the dock was civil servant Michalis Kassimis, 59, acquitted in the first ELA trial that ended on October 11, and the four people jailed for 25 years each for ELA membership – Christos Tsigaridas, 65, Costas Agapiou, 57, Angeletos Kanas, 53 and Irini Athanassaki, 49. Tsigaridas was released last month on grounds of poor health. All six deny the charges.

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