U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 - Greece
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism|
|Publication Date||30 April 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 - Greece, 30 April 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/468108602f.html [accessed 11 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
With improved counterterrorism infrastructure in place following the 2004 summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece continued to fight domestic and international terrorism. Greece sustained its participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan by providing a unit from the Greek Corps of Engineers (511 troops) and a NATO medical unit in Kabul (209 troops). From October 2005 through April, Greece had the lead for security at Kabul International Airport. On October 12, Greece signed the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism.
In July, convicted 17 November (17N) terrorist Nikos Papanastasiou, was released from prison for health reasons. Papanastasiou was sentenced to eight years imprisonment in 2003, for setting up and participating in the 17N terrorist group. Papanastasiou is the third convicted 17N terrorist to be granted an early release from prison on health grounds, being preceded by Konstantinos Telios and Pavlos Serifis in 2005. On April 12, an appellate criminal court unanimously acquitted Constantinos Avramidis, a self-confessed member of anarchist organizations who was arrested and indicted as a member of 17N in 2003, for lack of evidence.
Despite these early releases, on October 10, a Greek court denied 17N prisoner Savvas Xiros' pleas for release on medical grounds for the second time. Xiros' first plea was denied in October 2005. Xiros' botched bombing attempt in 2002 led to his arrest and the subsequent arrest and trial of several members of the November 17 organization.
In 2003, Greek courts handed down multiple life sentences to key 17N members who were responsible for hundreds of crimes and the murders of 13 Greeks and five U.S. government employees over a course of almost 30 years. A group appeals trial for 15 17N convicts and two previously acquitted individuals opened in December 2005. The appeals trials essentially represented a new trial for the convicts, since the Greek judicial system allows new facts and evidence to be introduced in the appeals phase.
The appeals trial lasted far longer than the original trial, in part due to the defense team's tactics and the court's decisions allowing defendants great leeway to make statements and interrupt witnesses. The defense attorney's strategy had been to dismiss defendant confessions rendered in the first trial as void due to alleged illegal interrogation methods. Investigation of 17N continued despite the arrest, trial, and conviction of what has been identified as "the main body" of the 17N terrorist group.
The Revolutionary Struggle (RS), an anti-Greek establishment radical leftist group, claimed responsibility for a May bomb explosion near the residence of former Minister of Public Order Giorgos Voulgarakis. The remotely detonated bomb was placed next to a school along the minister's usual route to work and exploded just minutes before he was due to pass. The explosion wrecked several cars but did not cause any injuries. Police have made no arrests in the case. Police officials have not closed their investigation into the 2004 killing of a Greek Special Guard at his post outside the residence of the British Defense Attaché, which they regarded as a domestic terrorist incident.
Self-styled anarchists attacked "imperialist-capitalist targets" with tools such as firebombs and Molotov cocktails. Since these attacks usually occurred in the middle of the night, few persons were seriously injured and there were no deaths. Several U.S. businesses were targeted. Police officials pursued a more pro-active approach to deterring violent attacks by anarchists and arrested perpetrators.