NEWS

‘Confession’ to 2004 officer hit

More than four years after a police guard was shot dead outside the British Defense Attache’s residence in the northern Athens suburb of Kifissia, police, who have failed to make any headway with their investigation, could have been handed a significant breakthrough after an anarchist allegedly admitted to taking part in the attack. It was revealed yesterday that a 31-year-old man who was released from custody on Wednesday walked into police headquarters on Alexandras Avenue and apparently told officers that he was one of two men who shot Haralambos Amanatidis on New Year’s Eve in 2004. Sources named the 31-year-old as Nikos Kountardas. It was not clear what prompted him to go to the police but sources said that he claimed he had been followed since leaving prison and that he felt that his life might be in danger. Police officers are treating Kountardas’s alleged confession with a certain amount of caution but it could represent an important development as the probe into Amanatidis’s murder, which has not been claimed by any terrorist group, has yielded few clues. The special guard was shot 15 times and the assailants also stole his MP5 submachine gun. A few days after the attack, forensic experts discovered traces of Amanatidis’s blood inside a white Nissan Micra, which was found abandoned in Maroussi, about 3 kilometers from the scene of the attack. Since then there have been no significant new leads. Kountardas allegedly told police that he took part in the attack with another person, whom he did not identify, and that their aim had been to take the policeman’s weapon without killing him but they opened fire when the officer resisted. Kountardas went to the police after being released from the Nikaia General Hospital, where he had been placed under guard after going on hunger strike on May 16. He was remanded in custody after violating the terms of his bail. The 31-year-old had been held for 17 months in connection with a violent attack against the head of the GSEE trade union umbrella group, Christos Polyzogopoulos, in January 2006. However, he was later released on bail, pending his trial in October.