N17 convict disappears on furlough
Huge manhunt under way after Christodoulos Xeros fails to report to police
Police launched a nationwide manhunt yesterday after convicted November 17 member Christodoulos Xeros failed to report in as part of his furlough obligations, prompting authorities to say they will review the rights of inmates serving time for terrorism and other serious crimes.
Xeros, 55, was granted a nine-day furlough on January 1 but failed to report to police yesterday after doing so regularly on the previous days, prompting the alert. He has been serving multiple life terms at Korydallos Prison in Athens. His lawyer Frangiskos Ragousis interpreted Xeros’s disappearance as “a political escape... in line with his revolutionary action.”
Reacting to the news, Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said authorities would re-examine laws on issuing furloughs to those convicted for terrorism and other serious crimes and heralded the creation of a new high-security prison for dangerous criminals “within 100 days.” In a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said domestic terrorism was “a significant danger for the country.”
Police are believed to be investigating possible links between Xeros and other groups amid fears of a resurgence in domestic terrorism. In an Internet statement, jailed members of Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, another guerrilla group, expressed solidarity with Xeros and said “the time to attack has come.”
The authorities have intensified efforts to crack down on terrorism following an attack last week on German Ambassador Wolfgang Dold’s Athens residence. Police are investigating the possible involvement of Nikos Maziotis, a convicted terrorist who has been at large since summer 2012 after failing to return from furlough.