ATHENS – After moving from a high-security prison to a farm a mastermind of the Nov. 17 terrorist group that killed 23 people, the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA has allowed another killer from the defunct gang to be transferred.
Christodoulos Xiros, who walked away from a furlough he was given and escaped before being recaptured in January, 2015 was taken from Korydallos Prison to a jail in Halkida on the island of Evia, Kathimerini reported, despite having been a fugitive previously.
That came after a leader of Nov. 17, Dimitris Koufodinas, whose group killed five Americans attached to the US Embassy over the years before the gang was broken up ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics under international pressure, was sent to an agricultural site in Volos in central Greece, where convicts are allowed to walk around and pick fruit and get reductions in their sentences.
He could be paroled as soon as 2021 despite being what the major rival New Democracy called a “serial killer,” whose victims included the husband of party stalwart Dora Bakoyianni, and brother-in-law of party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Xiros is serving six life sentences for his involvement in November 17, was found guilty in 2003 of taking part in 33 of the group’s attacks, including six murders.
With SYRIZA riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers who want killers released outright from jail, the Ministry of Justice claimed the transfers were part of a program to turn the overcrowded Korydallos Prison into a detention center although there were no mass transfers, only the two high-profile killers.
There was no word on whether there would be a high-security prison if Korydallos is turned into a place for defendants awaiting trial and if a horde of other terrorists and anarchists who said they want to bring down the state will also be taken to less-secure jails.
The decision to move Koufodinas, who had already gotten three vacations from jail with SYRIZA’s approval, although Tsipras promised no more furloughs for violent criminals after objections from the United States, angered American officials again, although there was no word from the US Embassy, which has praised Greece as a “pillar of stability in the region.”
Xiros had been on the run for almost a year before being caught and there was no explanation why a previous fugitive was being shown such leniency while other prisoners remain in Korydallos and aren’t being transferred if removing overcrowding is the alleged design.
The moving of Xiros came only days after Koufodinas’ transfer which had set off a firestorm of criticism, including from the US but only with tweets and press releases and no other diplomatic penalty for Greece with Tspiras apparently emboldened with no action taken against him.
Xiros, who was on the lam after walking away from a Christmas vacation he was given despite serving six life sentences and with reports he was planning a prison break with fellow terrorists from the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.
In March, 2015, two months after taking power, SYRIZA filed a prison reform bill that was seen as paving the way for the release of anarchists and terrorists, including Koufodinas, Xirox and Savvis Xiros – brother of Christodoulos – who had also belonged to Nov. 17 which killed a number of targets, including diplomats and Greek politicians and citizens.
Savvas Xiros was one of three siblings convicted 10 years ago for participating in the terrorist group’s activities. He was sentenced to serve five consecutive life sentences plus an additional 25 years for taking part in robberies and five assassinations.