ATHENS – Greece’s high court will decide May 21 whether terrorist assassin Dimitris Koufodinas, on a hunger strike, should get a seventh vacation from jail after the head of the Supreme Court prosecutor’s office overturned a ruling barring him from being let out again.
Koufodinas stopped eating May 2 to protest not being allowed to have a few days off again, this time from a low-security work farm where he was transferred from a high-security prison. He said he doesn’t like his hospital bed either because it’s next to the morgue.
Under Greek law, revised in 2015, prisoners who’ve served more than 15 years are eligible for furloughs although it also stipulates they must be repentant – he is defiant – and those convicted of the type of crimes for which he was convicted can not get furloughs.
Despite that, high court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou said he is eligible even though he’s serving 11 life sentences for his role as a leader of the disbanded Nov. 17 terror group that killed 23 people, including five Americans attached to the US Embassy over the years.
Koufodinas remains hospitalized in a Volos-area hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and vowed he would keep his hunger strike protest going “to the end,” and as anarchists led by the notorious Rouvikonas group have gone on waves of violent protests backing him.
Major opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose brother-in-law, journalist and politician Pavlos Bakoyiannis, was gunned down by Nov. 17 in 1989, struck out at the prosecutor.
Speaking from Crete, where he was on a campaign tour ahead of the May 26 European Parliament election, Mitsotakis said “the rule of law and democracy cannot be threatened or blackmailed, especially by an unrepentant serial killer and the 30 thugs that support him. I am absolutely confident that the institutions and justice system will meet this challenge,” if he comes to power in general elections later this year.
New Democracy added that, “no serious democracy is blackmailed by terrorists or their admirers,” while reiterating its promise to restore the high-security prison regime for terrorists that the SYRIZA government abolished.
Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou, from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA which was accused of having terrorist and anarchist sympathizers in its midst and condoning violence to help Koufodinas, denounced her critics.
US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said Koufodinas’ supporters demanding he get a furlough from jail were vandals and hooligans.
With the anarchist group Rouvikonas going on violent sprees to back the former Nov. 17 terror group chief, Pyatt’s home near the US Embassy was splashed with paint despite being heavily guarded by Greek police.
He said his tweet denouncing the violence and supporters of Koufodinas – whom he had told a newspaper was “a murderer, not Robin Hood – “probably got more attention than anything else I’ve done on Twitter in three years in Greece.”
“Nobody agrees with these people,” he said in a statement although Rouvikonas has widespread support among anti-establishment groups who have been rampaging almost at will under SYRIZA with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ critics saying he condoned it to reestablish Leftist credentials after bowing to the country’s creditors to impose austerity.
“This action is not a peaceful protest. It’s vandalism. It’s hooliganism, plain and simple,” said Pyatt, who also expressed gratitude for the government and police’s support and response to the vandalism. “We will work with Greek law enforcement in order to see hopefully that the individuals responsible are punished to the maximum extent under Greek law,” he said.