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Politics

After SYRIZA Softness, New Democracy Gets Tough on Terrorism Prisoners

ATHENS – More than a year after taking office, Greece's New Democracy government is moving to stop the transfer of prisons jailed for terrorist acts from alleged high-security facilities to low-security prison farms.

That practice was carried out by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that is riddled with terrorist and anarchist sympathizers, including elements who wanted them released from jail, believing them heroes to their alleged anti-mainstream cause.

That included one of the masterminds and top assassins for the disbanded Nov. 17 terror group, Dimitris Koufodinas, who was given seven furloughs from mail and moved to a prison farm despite outcries from the United States, the group having killed five Americans attached to the US Embassy over the years.

Draft legislation presented to cabinet last week by Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis would stop the transfers but there was no explanation why the government waited so long after bitterly criticizing them when out of power.

aims to put a stop to the transfer of inmates convicted of terrorism from high-security penitentiaries to agricultural jails.

In January, it was reported the government pledged to overhaul the SYRIZA leniency legislation that also made misdemeanors of some felonies, and that a bill would require 

Ruling New Democracy had pledged to overhaul the legislation that permitted the  stricter conditions for prison leave, while also establishing a “re-induction network” in several Greek cities, in association with local organizations and services, which will help released prisoners return to life in the community.

At the time, before COVID-19 struck, Chrysochoidis said the purpose was to tighten security and “halt the abuse of the system of prison furloughs,” while also intensifying the social reintegration of prisoners.

A month before that, Koufodinas' bid for another furlough was rejected by a courst in the city of Volos, near where he is being held, as he is serving 11 consecutive life sentences for his role in killing 23 people.

The board also noted that Koufodinas, who, during an earlier furlough was spotted walking around Athens with a noted anarchist leader happily pointing out spots where he killed people never showed remorse for his brutal crimes and multiple murders.

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