Yotopoulos in first interview

In the first interview since his arrest nearly three months ago, the 58-year-old mathematician suspected of heading November 17 has denied all charges against him, adding that, while he disagrees with the leftist terrorist group’s activities, he cannot condemn them. Alexandros Yotopoulos’s interview appeared yesterday in Lamiakos Typos, a small, provincial newspaper printed in Lamia and apparently chosen as a snub to the mainstream media – which the alleged N17 leader accused of «retransmitting government and police leaks.» Yotopoulos, who was arrested on July 18, refused to define N17’s activities as «terrorist,» a term which he used to describe US and Western «military, imperialist attacks on small states,» and «the blind violence used by the mechanisms of repression against popular activism.» Asked whether he still denied more than 100 charges of terrorist acts filed against him, Yotopoulos said: «Absolutely. The part of the leader is a police fabrication… The statements of the alleged N17 members describe a group with autonomous cells that decided on their own regarding their actions, and functioned independently of each other.» He said security police or foreign agents had been shadowing him since Christmas, and twice phoned his home asking for Alexandros – his real name which the Paris-educated mathematician shed in favor of «Michalis Economou.» Pressed to comment on N17’s activities, Yotopoulos said 23.7 percent of respondents in a recent poll agreed with the group’s positions, as expressed in its manifestos, but disagreed with its acts. «Along general lines, that is my position too,» he said, adding that the conditions that would excuse such acts «no longer exist.»