N17 investigation mostly done

Over four months after the Piraeus bomb explosion that led to the downfall of the November 17 terrorist group, the most time-consuming part of the judicial investigation is over, and the trial of the 19 suspects is expected to start in March, sources close to the investigation said yesterday. Yesterday, the suspects’ legal counsels, as well as lawyers representing the families of the extreme left-wing group’s victims, were invited to sign the relevant legal documents. Some 6,000 pages compiled by investigating judge Leonidas Zervobeakos and appeals court judges Haris Birbos and Panos Petropoulos are to be forwarded, Monday or Tuesday, to appeals court prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos, who will then issue his proposal for the 19 suspects – all but one of whom are remanded in Korydallos Prison – to be tried by a three-judge criminal appeals court. In Greece, criminal offenses are tried in three-judge appeals courts, with appeals heard in a five-member court. Karoutsos is expected to have tabled his proposal to the Council of Appeals Court Judges by late December or early January. The council, in turn, will issue an irrevocable order summoning the suspects to trial – expected to start in early March with over 400 witnesses testifying. If further arrests are made in connection with N17, Zervobeakos and his two assistants are expected to open a new investigation which would result in a separate trial. Meanwhile yesterday, most of the 11 suspects remanded in the Korydallos women’s section launched a two-day hunger strike – initially scheduled for Monday – to protest against their detention conditions. The three Xeros brothers, who are held in the men’s section along with Costas Karatsolis, Iraklis Costaris, Thomas and Pavlos Serifis, also joined in the protest.

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