NEWS

Lesperoglou is cleared, again, of murder attempt

The man who for 17 years figured as Greece’s prime terrorism suspect only to be repeatedly acquitted in court is expected to walk free today after an Athens jury cleared him yesterday of trying to murder a policeman 20 years ago. It was Avraam Lesperoglou’s third trial for the 1982 incident, and his second consecutive acquittal. All four appeals court jury members found the 48-year-old innocent of the attempt against officer Giorgos Psaroudakis following the burglary of a dentist’s office in the central Athens district of Exarchia. The three judges found him guilty. It was the last trial by jury of its kind, as under a new law, terrorism cases will only be heard by regular judges. Lesperoglou, who after the shooting was accused of membership of the leftist Anti-State Struggle group, had been acquitted – again by a 4-3 majority – of the Exarchia shooting in an appeals court. But the Supreme Court overturned that decision in June, and Lesperoglou was arrested again in early August to serve the 17-year sentence he had received in the first trial for the Psaroudakis attempt. After spending 17 years on the run, Lesperoglou was arrested in 1999 on entering Greece with false papers, and was promptly sentenced to three and a half years for draft-dodging. But he was cleared in court of participation in three Anti-State Struggle attacks, and secured early release from jail last November. Much can be said about the inconsistent and ridiculous remarks made on the political talk shows of private television channels concerning the supposed revelations of November 17 gunman Savvas Xeros.