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Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 - Greece

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Publication Date 21 May 2002
Cite as United States Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 - Greece, 21 May 2002, available at: [accessed 17 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis 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.

The Greek Government, after September 11, joined its EU partners in setting up interdiction mechanisms in support of the war on terrorism, to include greater security at points of entry, information sharing with the United States and its Coalition allies, and the monitoring of suspected terrorist financial assets. The Greek Parliament took meaningful steps toward demonstrating its commitment to combating terrorism by passing a comprehensive anti-organized-crime-and terrorism bill. Among its key provisions, the legislation mandates magistrate trials (eliminating citizen jurors, who have in the past been vulnerable to personal threats), sanctions police undercover operations, authorizes the use of DNA as court evidence, and permits electronic surveillance beyond traditional wiretaps.

Greek and US authorities maintained good cooperation investigating past terrorist attacks on US citizens. Nevertheless, the Greek Government has not yet arrested or convicted those terrorists responsible for attacks conducted by Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N) or Revolutionary Nuclei (RN) over the past two decades.

A series of court rulings that effectively reduced the sentences of suspected Greek terrorists or overturned guilty verdicts in high-profile terrorist-related cases represented a setback on one counterterrorism front.

Anti-State Struggle terrorist and longtime criminal fugitive Avraam Lesperoglou had been found guilty of several charges, including involvement in the attempted murder of a Greek police officer, for which he received a 17-year sentence. In April, the verdict was overturned on appeal. By October, charges regarding Lesperoglou's association with Anti-State Struggle similarly were dropped after prosecution witnesses failed to appear in court or recanted previous testimony identifying him at the scene of the crime. Following these developments, there were allegations of witness intimidation. In November, Lesperoglou was cleared of all charges and set free.

In another prominent case, self-confessed Urban Anarchist guerrilla Nikos Maziotis had his 15-year sentence reduced to fewer than 5 years. Afterwards, the trial judge ruled that he agreed with the unrepentant Maziotis' contention that "the placement of an explosive device at a Greek Government ministry was a political statement and not an act of terrorism."

The courts imposed only token penalties on a young woman caught in the act of placing a gas-canister bomb in front of the US Consulate General in Thessaloniki in 1999 and delayed until 2003 a prosecutor's request to retry the case.

Anti-US terrorist attacks in Greece declined significantly from a high of 20 in 1999 to only three in 2001. Greece's most lethal terrorist group, Revolutionary Organization 17 November did not claim any attacks in 2001, nor did Greece's other prominent terrorist group, Revolutionary Nuclei. Anarchist groups appeared more active in employing terrorist tactics, however, seizing upon antiglobalization and antiwar themes. The three low-level incendiary attacks on US interests in Greece in 2001 consisted of one unclaimed attack against a US fast-food chain and two others against US-plated vehicles by the group Black Star. Other lesser-known groups attacked numerous domestic targets while the "Revolutionary Violence Group" attacked Thai and Israeli official interests.

Greek officials began planning for security for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens and continued to work with key countries having extensive security and/or Olympics experience through a series of consultative conferences and symposiums, to include several meetings of the seven-nation Olympic Security Advisory Group – Australia, France, Germany, Israel, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.

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