Convicted November 17 terrorist Dimitris Koufodinas stepped out the Korydallos prison for first time since 2002. He exited the prison in the company of his wife, his son and his lawyer. A group of supporters was cheering him chanting “Free Koufodinas.”
The Prison Council of Korydallos approved on Wednesday his application for a 48-hour furlough, after it had rejected eight similar requests in the past. The council’s decision has met the sharp criticism of opposition parties and triggered a political storm with conservative New Democracy attacking the government while on its part the government assures it has nothing to do with the decision.
Dimitris Koufodinas, 59, was convicted 11 times to life sentence for being the leading member of notorious terror group “November 17” named after the day of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising against the military junta.
Dimitris Koufodinas was identified as the main hitman of “November 17”, known as the “poison hand” and the “45-caliber”.
Between 1975 and 2002, the terror group launched 103 attacks against Greek, US, British and Turkish citizens, killing 23 people.
Among the prominent victims were journalist and MP Pavlos Bakoyannis (murdred in Sept 1989), the first husband of New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyanni and brother-in-law of ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
- 17N first attack, on 23 December 1975, was against the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief in Athens, Richard Welch. Welch was gunned down outside his residence by three assailants, in front of his wife and driver.
- December 1976: 17N killed the junta intelligence chief of the Greek security police, Evangelos Mallios.
- June 2000: shot British military attaché Brigadier Stephen Saunders.
Upon hearing the news on Koufodinas release, Dora Bakoyannis wondered “who will protects us while he will be wandering around?” Stressing that he was to top gun of November 17, she added “his pistol was never found, only he knows where it is.”
Koufodinas never regretted his actions
The Federation of Prison Guards issued a statement saying that the 48-hour furlough occurs according to the law and that he had to be granted this right long ago. The permission has to do with the inmates’ behavior and not with the crimes he had committed, the federation said. “Koufodinas would have been granted the permission earlier, had Xiros did not violate his own permission.”
Another convicted 17N member, Christodoulos Xiros, never returned to prison after a 48-hour leave in 2014. It was the seventh time he was granted permission to leave the prison. He was captured by Greek police a year later.
According to media, the Prison Council has ordered Koufodinas to report twice per day at the police station of Varnavas in North Athens, the area where he will be staying during his furlough.
His lawyer said that he has the right to apply for permissions every 60 days.
More on November 17 here.