A senior member of an extreme right-wing group was given 21 years in jail by an Athens criminal court yesterday after being found guilty of three counts of attempted murder in an attack that took place eight years ago. Antonis Androutsopoulos, 40, was convicted of taking part in the savage beating of three left-wing students in 1998 outside the main Athens court complex, leaving one of them with severe head injuries. Androutsopoulos is part of the ultra-rightist group Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn). He gave himself up to police last September – some 17 months after he was convicted in absentia to four years in prison for weapons possession and gang membership. The accused maintained his innocence and claimed he was a «nationalist not a murderer.» The prosecution said he should not have evaded authorities for seven years if he was innocent. Some 30 members of Chryssi Avgi jeered the ruling and chanted slogans as police kept the neo-Nazis apart from leftists who had gathered outside the court.