Koufodinas Wants Another Leave from Jail

January 12, 2018

ATHENS – Two months after getting a two-day holiday from prison, the notorious head of the former November 17 terrorist group that killed 23 people – including five Americans – wants another furlough.

Although the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, riddled with anarchist and terrorist sympathizers said it would end furloughs for violent criminals in the aftermath of fierce criticism over the 48-hour release in November of Dimitris Koufodinas, the terror group’s leader said he wanted another break so he could visit family and hone his skills as a beekeeper, said Kathimerini, citing sources it didn’t identify.

Koufodinas worked as a beekeeper before being handed 11 life sentences in 2003 for the murders he carried out.

It is not clear when the parole board, which consists of a prosecutor, the prison warden and a social worker, will meet to decide on his application. Greek law allows any offender, including terrorists, anarchists, pedophiles, serial killers or assassins to apply for holidays.

Koufodinas was first released in November, sparking an angry reaction from the United States, Britain and Turkey, as well as the relatives of his victims.

The coalition argued that the law allowed the prison authorities to grant Koufodinas temporary leave and that it could not interfere in the process.

SYRIZA has not acted on its promise to curtail furloughs, reneging so far on that as it has on virtually every promise made to get into power, and as there’s growing criticism the party condones violence with a rise in anarchy and assaults.

The United States Ambassador, the United Kingdom and Turkey all assailed the Greek government over the previous holiday given Koufoudinas, who was all smiles when he got out and was seen at a tavern enjoying himself.
The business newspaper Naftemporiki said the government gave assurances to foreign governments that holidays for killers would stop although Koufoudinas got the go-ahead from Appeals Court judges and a prosecutor to go have time off before he returned.
During SYRIZA’s tenure that began in 2015, the government pushed through legislation, the so-called Paraskevopoulos Law, named for former Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos who said he wanted to relieve congestion in prisons but admitted it was a mistake.
Press reports have linked several crime-related deaths to convicts released under the law, drawing even more heat for the government.
The November 17 group, which first appeared when its members assassinated the CIA station chief in Athens, Richard Welch, in December 1975, remained elusive until 2002, until one of its members was arrested after a botched bomb attack that year.
November 17 assassinated diplomats and military personnel from all three countries who protested the leave. They also killed Greek targets, including Pavlos Bakoyannis, a journalist and politician, husband of former Athens mayor and foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and brother-in-law of current opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Both Dora Bakoyannis and Mitsotakis criticized the government for allowing Koufodinas, who gunned down Bakoyiannis in September 1989, to leave prison for the first time since 2002.
“I was in shock at first … then, my first thought is not to have my children watch the news. Because one of the biggest trials is to have to explain what happened to the children,” said Costas Bakoyannis, the governor of the central Greek region and Pavlos’ son, who was 11 when his father was slain.
Koufodinas, who was convicted along with several other November 17 members in 2003, can apply again for a furlough after 60 days. While outside, he had to report twice daily to the nearest police precinct and was closely monitored.


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