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Jailed November 17 leader says ministers to blame for Xiros' escape

Alexandros Giotopoulos said authorities did 'nothing' to prevent disappearance of erstwhile comrade

In a letter published in Tuesday's issue of Eleftherotypia, Alexandros Giotopoulos, one of the founders of the terror group in 1975, said that the authorities did 'nothing' to prevent the escape of Christodoulos Xiros, who on Monday released a video from the underground vowing to resume an armed campaign

Alexandros Giotopoulos at his trial in 2003 (Photo: Reuters) Alexandros Giotopoulos at his trial in 2003 (Photo: Reuters) The convicted leader of the November 17 Revolutionary Organisation group has raised questions about the circumstances that allowed an erstwhile comrade to escape prison while on leave, alleging that the authorities allowed it to happen.

In a letter published in Tuesday's issue of Eleftherotypia, Alexandros Giotopoulos, one of the founders of the terror group in 1975, said that the authorities did "nothing" to prevent the escape of Christodoulos Xiros, who on Monday released a video from the underground vowing to wage an armed campaign against those he claims are destroying Greece.

"So, all those guys in the counterterrorism unit, EYP [National Intelligence Service], the government and the CIA didn't know that Christodoulos had taken six licences [for leave] in 18 months? What did they do to prevent his disappearance? Nothing," said Giotopoulos, who is serving 17 life terms plus 25 years for masterminding 17 murders, bombings, robberies and other acts.

He also claims that when another convicted member of the group, Vasilis Tzortzatos, was released on leave, six cars containing counterterrorism officers monitored to the residence he stayed in, while none were dispatched to shadow Xiros, who absconded from his sister's home while on nine days' leave on January 6.

Giotopoulos also questions why Xiros received prison leave, even after setting fire to his cell in 2011. Following that, he received permission to visit senior prison wardens, members of the Fire Cells Conspiracy (SFP) group, as well as hardcore criminal convicts. he claims.

"Who gave the order? Certainly not not director or a senior warden. They have no such power nor would they assume such responsibility. The order came from above. From the counterterrorism unit, EYP and, thus, from the government that supervises them," he states.

"So let's not try to blame the guards who were simply executing orders. Those responsible are the ministers who are now howling and screaming with hypocrisy, while the situation suits them. They've stopped issuing permits during the short time of the [Greece's European Council] presidency and are preparing to effectively abolish them afterwards."

In the letter, Giotopoulos also asks why an unknown fingerprint that was allegedly found in a hideout in his partner's home on the island of Lipsi in 2002 has not been matched.

"Twelve years later, they have found nothing. Which means that there was no fingerprint. This was a fabrication against me either by the counterterrorism unit or the EYP. And instead of staying quiet, they are now using the TV channels to show ... that there are fugitive members N17."

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Alexandros Giotopoulos
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