NEWS

Another N17 suspect?

Angeliki Sotiropoulou, the first woman to be arrested on suspicion of being a member of November 17, is to appear before an investigating judge to answer to the charges today. Sotiropoulou, 40, is the former wife of Savvas Xeros, one of the 16 suspects already in pretrial detention and the companion of another, Dimitris Koufodinas, who is believed to have been a senior operative. Sotiropoulou is charged with being a member of a criminal organization and of complicity with others in procuring and possessing weapons and explosives. She has denied everything, her lawyer said. Her fingerprints were found on a doorframe in one of the two November 17 hideouts that police discovered in July, prompting her arrest on Thursday. If the prosecutor and investigating judge rule that she be held pending trial, she will be taken to a special solitary cell in Korydallos Prison, where the other 16 suspects are being held. The investigation, sources said, is now focusing on the activities of another woman. There is even speculation that she may be the «Anna» who has been described by one confessed member as being present at November 17’s first murder, that of CIA station chief Richard Welch in December 1975. The woman is said to have played an important role in European terrorist organizations in the past and is now living in Greece. Police located her a few years ago but then lost her trail. They picked it up again recently in a northern Athenian suburb. In another development, the head of the anti-terrorism squad, Lt. Gen. Stelios Syros, yesterday paid a surprise visit to Korydallos Prison, where the 16 suspects are being held awaiting trial. He met with the chief warden to discuss security conditions in the prison. He also met with Savvas Xeros, according to the suspect’s lawyer, Giorgos Agiostratitis. Savvas Xeros, 40, was seriously injured by a bomb he was carrying in Piraeus on June 29, setting in motion the chain of events that led to the capture of most of November 17’s operatives. He and Sotiropoulou have a 12-year-old son who was being raised by Sotiropoulou and Koufodinas. Authorities are examining the possibility of allowing the boy to visit his mother daily if she is jailed pending trial. Masked youths yesterday used sticks and stones to attack television crews outside the Exarchia office of Gianna Kourtovic, the lawyer of Sotiropoulou and Koufodinas.