NEWS

Anti-State Struggle suspect on trial

Avraam Lesperoglou, one of Greece’s most wanted men who was on the run for 17 years, appeared in an Athens court yesterday to face charges of terrorism and involvement in the death of six people. Lesperoglou, 46, is accused of taking part in the murder of prosecutor Giorgos Theofanopoulos in April 1985, a robbery at a supermarket in May 1985 in which three police officers were killed, and a shootout with police in Gyzi during the same month, in which another two policemen and Christos Tsoutsouvis, the leader of the Anti-State Struggle urban guerrilla group, died. Lesperoglou is serving a three-year prison term for draft dodging. He was arrested trying to enter the country illegally in December 1999. Yesterday he denied the charges, saying that he wanted the trial to go ahead even though he considered the international climate after the September 11 terrorist attacks in America to be against him. I want the trial to go ahead, he told journalists. I deny all the charges. I know nothing about this issue and this will be proven in court. He said he was accused because he supported the Palestinian cause in 1982, adding that in 1985 he had already fled the country. In March, an appeals court overturned a 17-year sentence passed on Lesperoglou on October 13, 2000, for the attempted murder of police sergeant Giorgos Psaroudakis on October 24, 1982. The court’s four jurors outvoted the three judges. Under new anti-terrorism legislation, future trials will be held only by judges.