U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2004 - Greece

Greece continued to strengthen its ability to fight terrorism and held the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens without incident. In June, the Greek Parliament passed new counterterrorism legislation that brought Greece into compliance with the EU Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism, including approval of the EU Arrest Warrant. This legislation made specific reference to terrorist crimes and groups for the first time. Among its provisions, the legislation extends the statute of limitations on terrorist-related killings from 20 to 30 years, established a framework for EU-wide probes and rapid extradition of terrorist suspects within the EU bloc, and provided for harsher treatment of terrorist leaders and those who provide money and logistics to terrorists.

In October, after an eight month process, a Greek court sentenced four of five accused members of the domestic terrorist group Peoples' Revolutionary Struggle (ELA) to what amounts to 25 years imprisonment, the maximum allowed under Greek law, for bombings/attempted murders, possession of firearms/explosives, and involvement in the 1994 assassination of a police officer. The ELA defense immediately appealed these sentences; by year's end there was no decision on the timing of the appeals. In July the Athens Court of Appeals indicted longtime suspected ELA leader Yannis Serifis for his role in the 1994 assassination; the trial is set to begin in February 2005.

A Greek court announced in October that the appeals process for members of the 17 November (17N) terrorist group, convicted in December 2003 of hundreds of crimes over the years, including the murder of five US Government employees, would begin in December 2005. Top Greek law enforcement officials have stated that further investigation of 17N suspects/evidence will continue and that the case is not considered closed.

Anarchists and domestic terrorists continued to conduct numerous small-scale arson attacks, most involving gas canister or other crude improvised explosive devices (IEDs), against an array of perceived establishment and so-called "imperialist targets," such as banks, US fast food restaurants, courts, and personal vehicles. In May, exactly 100 days before the start of the Olympic Games in Athens, a group calling itself "Revolutionary Struggle" took responsibility for three IEDs which detonated near a police station in the Athens suburb of Kallithea, causing significant property damage but no injuries. The reported number of IED attacks dropped dramatically during the Olympic and Paralympic Games (August-September), but increased soon after.

In October, in a departure from crude IED attacks against property that usually occur in the dead of night, a remotely-controlled device detonated during the morning rush hour near two police buses that were carrying officers to the Korydallos prison (where 17N members are imprisoned). The explosion caused no injuries and only minor damage. No group has thus far claimed responsibility for this attack and Greek authorities have continued their investigation. In December, unknown assailants shot and killed a Greek Special Guard at his post outside the residence of the British Defense Attaché. While the case has not yet been solved, police are treating the case as a domestic terrorist incident.


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