ATHENS - Despite anarchists smashing store windows in an exclusive capital city neighborhood in his support, a Greek judicial panel rejected another furlough from jail for terrorist assassin Dimitris Koufodinas.
He is serving 11 life sentences for murders and his role in the killings of 23 people by the disbanded terror group Nov. 17, including five Americans attached to the US Embassy. He had already received six vacations from mail despite the crimes.
Turned down by a prosecutor for a seventh, he’s gone on a hunger strike and has the adoration and support of terrorist and anarchist groups, including the notorious Rouvikonas band that had been going after less political targets in vandalism sprees previously in the city.
After his last furlough, when he was seen walking around Athens with a Rouvikonas member, smiling and pointing out the spots where his group killed people, the council said he has not shown remorse, and indeed has remained defiant.
It was the second time he was turned down by the council, a decision coming less than a day after the rampage against luxury goods stores within a stone’s throw of Parliament and major police presence.
Koufodinas, who had been transferred from a high-security prison to a low-security work farm, was transferred to a hospital in Volos after stopping eating to protest the prosecutor’s turning down of another vacation from jail. He also doesn’t like his hospital room, saying it’s next to the mortuary, upsetting him.
With the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers who support Koufodinas - even though one of Nov. 17’s victims was an innocent student - there had speculation the terrorist might be going to be released..
Main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis went to the scene of the wild vandalism attack on Voukourestiou Street, the latest in a series of seemingly unstoppable attacks, and said if elected later this year, with big leads in polls, he would end lawlessness.
The government has been accused of condoning, and implicitly encouraging, the outbreaks in a bid to regain favor with Leftists after Tsipras broke anti-austerity vows in surrendering to the country’s creditors to get a third bailout in 2015, for 86 billion euros ($96.61 billion.)
“The image speaks for itself. We cannot allow…the most historic commercial street in Athens to be destroyed. We cannot be held hostage by 30 thugs. Safety and order will return the day after (the elections.) If the Greek people trust us, these images will stop.,” he told reporters after walking the area.
The head of Athens’ Traders Association Stavros Kafounis, who was escorting Mitsotakis at his visit, said in a statement: “Once again, our fellow store owners found themselves defenceless at the mercy of very few fringe elements. Tomorrow, they will vandalize the shops in our neighborhood and then our homes, that's why enough is enough."
They were referring to a gang of self-styled anarchists wielding clubs who went after two bank branches, and 11 shops in central Akadimias, Voukourestiou and Valaoritou Streets, a row of high-end stores and iconic brands symbolizing Capitalism.
They scattered fliers and shouted slogans in support of Koufodinas, demanding the killer be allowed to have time off from jail. Under the law, all convicts are entitled to apply for a furlough but there’s been no word on anyone other than him getting out.
Twelve of 15 suspects detained overnight were freed, as police did not find any incriminating evidence against them while the other three were foreigners without legal residency permits, police said.
According to reports, the vandals had been gathered at the campus of Athens Law School before heading out on their rampage.