Ire at N17 hit­man’s prison leave

De­ci­sion by ju­di­cial coun­cil to grant Koufo­d­i­nas 2-day fur­lough trig­gers anger of politi­cians, diplo­mats

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A de­ci­sion by a ju­di­cial coun­cil yes­ter­day to re­lease con­victed Novem­ber 17 hit­man Dim­itris Koufo­d­i­nas on a two-day fur­lough trig­gered an­gry re­ac­tions from politi­cians and for­eign diplo­mats.

Koufo­d­i­nas walked out of At­tica’s high-se­cu­rity Ko­ry­dal­los Prison yes­ter­day af­ter­noon for the first time since he was handed 11 life sen­tences in 2003.

He was re­ceived by friends and rel­a­tives. Among the sup­port­ers was Gior­gos Vout­sisVo­giatzis, the son of SYRIZA MP and Par­lia­ment Speaker Nikos Vout­sis and a known mem­ber of the anti-es­tab­lish­ment scene.

Koufo­d­i­nas’s lawyer, Ioanna Kour­tovik, said her client’s ap­peal was ap­proved due to good be­hav­ior though his “philo­soph­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal be­liefs” had not changed.

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los said the de­ci­sion was in line with the law and that ex­press­ing re­gret was not a pre­req­ui­site.

The de­vel­op­ment trig­gered re­ac­tions from the op­po­si­tion, in­clud­ing rel­a­tives of Novem­ber 17’s vic­tims, and con­cerns as an­other N17 con­vict, Christodou­los Xeros, had ab­sconded dur­ing a fur­lough in 2014, as had Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Strug­gle leader Nikos Mazi­o­tis in 2012.

De­scrib­ing him­self as a “shocked cit­i­zen,” ND leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis said Koufo­d­i­nas had never ex­pressed re­morse and “acts as an ide­o­log­i­cal men­tor for a new gen­er­a­tion of ter­ror­ists.” His re­lease amid a spike in law­less­ness is “the worst pos­si­ble tim­ing,” he added. ND MP Dora Bakoy­an­nis, whose hus­band, Pav­los Bakoy­an­nis, was killed by N17 in 1989, said it was “in­con­ceiv­able” Koufo­d­i­nas should be out and called Jus­tice Min­is­ter Stavros Kon­to­nis a “wretched apol­o­gist.” The min­is­ter noted that the law ac­cord­ing to which Koufo­d­i­nas was re­leased was amended by ND in 2009. “If you didn’t like it, you could have changed it,” he said.

US Am­bas­sador Ge­of­frey Py­att also re­acted. “Our democ­ra­cies rest on in­de­pen­dent ju­di­cial in­sti­tu­tions, but to­day’s fur­lough dis­hon­ors the vic­tims’ mem­ory and their fam­i­lies,” he wrote on Twit­ter. Bri­tain’s en­voy to Greece Kate Smith struck a sim­i­lar note. “We re­spect the in­de­pen­dence of the Greek jus­tice sys­tem, how­ever we are deeply dis­ap­pointed over the de­ci­sion to grant leave to a ter­ror­ist mur­derer and we share the pain that this de­ci­sion in­flicts on the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims,” Smith wrote on Twit­ter in Greek.

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