N17’s Xeros says doctors are blameless

Savvas Xeros, the self-confessed member of November 17 who helped police smash the gang, wants to tell doctors at the Evangelismos Hospital that he does not consider them responsible for his alleged mistreatment during his stay there, his lawyer said yesterday. Xeros, 40, was treated at the hospital for more than two months after being seriously injured by a bomb he was carrying in Piraeus on June 29. Last weekend, he claimed in telephone interviews with Alpha Channel that he had been subjected to mind-altering drugs and threatened with a gun while in the hospital, in an effort to make him talk. He has not retracted the content of his repeated statements to police and prosecutors and is now in Korydallos Prison with another 16 suspects. The hospital and medical associations denied his claims. He also appears to have been criticized by his fellow detainees, whose telephone rights have been limited to phoning family members and lawyers. Lawyer Giorgos Agiostratitis visited Xeros yesterday. He said that his client will return to the Evangelismos Hospital for another operation on Monday. He said that Xeros does not retract his claims regarding drugs and psychological pressure exerted on him by various individuals in the presence of prosecutor Ioannis Diotis and anti-terrorism squad chief Lt. Gen. Stelios Syros. But, Agiostratitis added, Xeros wants to meet with his doctors to clarify that his claims did not imply that they were involved. Meanwhile, it emerged for the first time that two witnesses had described a woman as being present at a robbery at a National Bank branch in Petralona in December 1984 in which a police guard was shot dead at point-blank range. The woman, who has not been identified, was described as giving a box of sweets to a man in a police uniform who then walked into the bank, offered the sweets to police guard Christos Matis and shot him. At a news conference, the Network for Political and Social Rights argued that November 17 suspects must be given a political trial – which the government has ruled out. Activists argued that if November 17 was not treated in this way then this could lead to Turkish leftists not being granted political asylum.

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