Dimitris Koufodinas, the convicted gunman of terror organization 17 November, returned to prison following a 48-hour-furlough. Koufodinas arrived at Korydallos prison an hour and a half ahead of the Saturday noon deadline, accompanied by his wife and son.
He looked relaxed and waved to the press.
Koufodinas, 59, is serving 11 life sentences plus 25 years for participating in 11 of the 23 assassinations perpetrated by the now-defunct armed group November 17.
Greek media followed each and every step Koufodinas took outside the prison and his home, and reported among others about the vegetables his wife is growing in their home garden, the hours he spent in a Grill taverna, his comings and goings, wehter he smiled or he was grumpy – he wasn’t -. They interviewed neighbors in Varnavas area of north Athens, where the family home is. Neighbors had nothing much to say.
The group first appeared when its members assassinated the CIA station chief in Athens, Richard Welch, in December 1975. It was active until 2002. It assassinated killed prominent Greeks, but also British, US and Turkish diplomats.
Koufodinas furlough triggered a political storm in Greece with the majority of opposition parties to fiercely criticize the government for the 48-hour furlough. Conservative New Democracy led the attacks on the government, although the decision for the leave was taken by the Prison Council of Korydallos prison.
United States, Britain and Turkey joined the chorus of criticism for Koufodinas leave. The State Department expressed concern he might not return to prison.
Koufodinas has the right to apply for another leave 60 days later. The furlough duration will be gradually increased, with the maximum to be nine days.
PS now that he is back in prison, everybody is relieved, incl the Greek government, the New Democracy , the media and the state department, I suppose… The next confrontation circus expected when and if he applies and also get the next furlough. What is odd is the there was not such frenzy when another 17N, Christodoulos Xiros, was getting furloughs. Until he disappeared in Jan 2014 under a ND-PASOK government, during a 9-day furlough, the seventh he was granted. He has been convicted to 6 times life sentence plus 25 years for participation in murders, explosion and other offenses. He was arrested a year later.