|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 02-07-18
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 CLOSER TO N17'S LEADERSHIPAthens, 18 July 2002 (15:02 UTC+2)
60-year-old Professor Alexandros Giotopoulous, using the name Michalis Economou, was arrested late last night on the island of Lipsi, and is still being questioned by the anti-terrorist squad. He is suspected of being a senior member of November 17. The professor was found at his villa on the island, and was transported to the offices of the anti-terrorist squad by a Fire Department helicopter.
Economou was arrested while preparing to board a hydrofoil in order to travel to Patmos, where his French wife, Marie Terez Binot, was waiting for him. From there they were going to go to Samos and then Turkey.
A short time later, forensics officers of the Attica Security Police were flown to the island by helicopter, and searched Giotopoulos' villa in Lipsi, while his wife's house in Athens has also been searched and a typewriter, a computer and various other objects were confiscated. All the objects are in the criminology labs and forensics officers are making a complete fingerprint check.
Giotopoulos and Binot, who worked at the Greek-French College of Athens, had been living in an Athens apartment since 1993. Their neighbors thought that Giotopoulos was a Math Professor and knew that his wife was a French Professor and that she had serious health problems. According to the neighbors, Mrs. Binot went to work in the morning every day, while the professor did not have a steady schedule. However the apartment building manager was intrigued to see Mrs. Binot packing things in order to send them to Lipsi, despite her health problems, and cleaning the house of certain items. The apartment is located on Voutsas st., about 1km from the Vyronas Police Department and the hideout on Damareos st.
According to information, during his questioning by the anti-terrorist squad the 60-year-old admitted to District Attorney Ioannis Diotis that hidden behind the name Michalis Economou, was Alexandros Giotopoulos.
There is not much evidence about his life, apart from the fact that Giotopoulos was a member of the May 29 organization from '67-'69 and that he followed in the footsteps of his father, Dimitris Giotopoulos, who led a Trotskyist organization, which was at conflict with KKE. Alexandros Giotopoulos had connections in Thessaloniki during the dictatorship and, in fact, according to the ruling of an emergency military court that had convicted him in absentia to 5 years imprisonment, he visited N. Greece secretly in October 1967, as a representative of the May 29 Movement. According to newspapers of the time, he also went by the name Alexnadros Iatropoulos
The recent statements of Savvas Xeros' brothers and Dionysis Georgiadis from Thessaloniki to the police, contributed to the arrest of Giotopoulos. Marie Terez Pinot has still not been arrested by the police.
Meanwhile, a large police operation is underway in order to track down other suspects of being members of the organization, while so far there has been no trace of Dimitris Koufontinas.
 PAPANDREOU-CHRISOCHOIDIS BRIEFED THE EU AMBASSADORS ON TERRORISMAthens, 18 July 2002 (15:09 UTC+2)
Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Public Order, Giorgos Papandreou and Michalis Chrisochoidis began briefing the EU ambassadors to Athens on the efforts of the Greek government to break up the terrorist organization 17 November.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis stated that many countries outside the EU have also expressed interest to be briefed on the latest developments concerning the efforts against terrorism in Greece.
Meanwhile, the latest developments in the issue of terrorism were the main topic of discussion in the meeting Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou had with US ambassador to Athens, Thomas Miller. During the meeting, that took place at the initiative of the US diplomat, Mr. Papandreou briefed him on the results of the efforts of the Greek government to break up 17 November. The US ambassador stated that the US government backs the efforts of the Greek government and characterized the latest developments as positive.
The two men also discussed the developments in the Middle East and the Balkans, while Mr. Papandreou briefed Mr. Miller on the Greek positions on the issue of the Euro-army.
 THE THREE "17 NOVEMBER" MEMBERS WILL TESTIFY FORMALLY ON SUNDAYAthens, 18 July 2002 (18:25 UTC+2)
Christodoulos Xiros, Vasilis Xiros and Dionisis Georgiadis will testify formally before a magistrate on Sunday, as they requested to be given time to prepare their statements.
Earlier, they were led before the prosecutor, who filed criminal action against them accusing them of capital offences. According to information, the defendants confessed their participation in the terrorist organization 17 November.
Meanwhile, a total of 20 pending cases against unidentified culprits have been reopened by the responsible authorities. Evidence included in those briefs is expected to be used in the cases of the three 17 November members.
 GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: THE INVESTIGATIONS ON TERRORISM ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACKAthens, 18 July 2002 (17:34 UTC+2)
The investigations on terrorism are on the right track but still there is a lot of material that can be used, stressed Prime Minister Kostas Simitis speaking to the members of the governmental committee.
Government spokesman Christos Protopapas also stated that the Prime Minister said that there is evidence proving that Giotopoulos was involved in the planning of terrorist attacks. He reiterated that the firm position of the government is to combat terrorism.
When asked to comment whether Giotopoulos was the leader of 17 November, Mr. Protopapas responded that his firm policy is to stay out of operational issues and referred to statements made by the responsible authorities. He said that interrogation is underway and when it will be completed announcements will be made.
On Dimitris Koufodinas, a wanted member of 17 November, Mr. Protopapas stated that the investigation continues, while he responded that he avoids to be involved in scenarios when he was asked to comment on information according to which, members of the Greek Intelligence Service have been arrested.
 FIFTH ROUND OF TALKS BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEYAthens, 18 July 2002 (17:14 UTC+2)
The 5th round of exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey will take place in Ankara tomorrow between the Greek Foreign Ministry general secretary ambassador Skopelitis and Turkish Foreign Ministry general secretary ambassador Ziyal.
The announcement was made today by Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 18 July 2002 (16:55 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.81% at 2.153,81 points, while the volume of transactions was at 212 million Euro or 72.2 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority of 222 recorded gains and 83 had losses, while the value of 69 stocks remained unchanged.
 HISTORICAL ANNOUNCEMENTS ON "17 NOVEMBER"Athens, 18 July 2002 (16:46 UTC+2)
This is a historic day for the break up of 17 November terrorist organization in Greece. Alexandros Giotopoulos, who was arrested in the Aegean island of Lipsi yesterday is the instructor of the organization and the writer of its manifestos.
Very important statements were made today by Greek Police Chief Fotis Nasiakos. Giotopoulos admitted that he used the name Michail Economou, while his fingerprints matched with fingerprints found in the 17 November hideout at 84 Patmos Street in Athens. Meanwhile, Christodoulos Xiros, Vasilios Xiros and Dionisis Georgiadis have confessed their actions as members of 17 November and described in detail the way they were committed.
Important evidence surfaced as a result of the police investigations on Christodoulos Xiros, brother of Savas Xiros, who participated in 29 criminal acts by the year 1997. Among them, are the three 17 November attacks aimed at stealing guns, while his role in the terrorist organization was much more important than initially thought.
Vasilis Xiros, also a brother of Savas Xiros, took part among others to the rocket launch against the German ambassador residence in Athens in which Savas Xiros also participated, while he also took part in the assassination of ship-owner Kostis Peratikos.
Dionisis Georgiadis participated in criminal acts of 17 November from 1998 until today, while the most important evidence against him was that he was the one who rented the 73 Damareos Street hideout in Pangrati, Athens.
Another important fact is that two individuals were brought from Evia, central-east Greece, to Athens to be questioned on their participation in 17 November activities. They are Vasilios Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis.
Early in the afternoon, Christodoulos Xiros, Vasilis Xiros and Dionisis Georgiadis were led before the prosecutor under heavy police measures to be arraigned.
The Greek Police Chief stated that based on certain evidence gathered during the preliminary investigation, the 17 November instructor and writer of its manifestos was a man under the code-name Lambros, about 55-60 years old with white hair. In the last 24 hours, evidence surfaced according to which, an individual using the name Michail Economou, with a summer house at the Aegean island of Lipsi, was most likely the specific man, stated Mr. Nasiakos. In a surprise operation this individual was arrested yesterday and it was established that he had a fake identity card with the name Michail Economou. Mr. Nasiakos stated that the individual finally admitted that he is Alexandros Giotopoulos, the son of Dimitris Giotopoulos and Zoi Metaxa born in Paris in 1944.
 GIOTOPOULOS CONVICTED DURING THE DICTATORSHIPAthens, 18 July 2002 (15:40 UTC+2)
Alexandros Giotopoulos had connections in Thessaloniki during the dictatorship and, in fact, he had been convicted in absentia by an emergency military court on March 31, 1971, to 5 years imprisonment. According to the courts records he had been in N. Greece in October 1967, as a representative of the Movement of May 29 Organization.
According to that decision, which was published in the local papers of the time, Macedonia, Thessaloniki, and The Greek North, Giotopoulos, using the alias Alexandros Iatropoulos, had come to Thessaloniki in October 1967, along with 25-year-old Athenian university student Andreas Staikos, in order to organize a Movement of May 29 echelon.
According to the prosecutor, during his stay, Giotopoulos recruited at least two individuals, 32-year-old actor (at the time) Ioannis Kyriakidis from Pieria and 27-year-old Athenian university student Georgios Kitharatzis, as well as other individuals.
Some of the Thessaloniki May 29 echelon members went abroad in March of 1968, specifically to France, from where they returned with various documents.
The security officers that had testified as witnesses for the prosecution at the 1971 trial, stated that Iatropoulos and his accomplices were still active, with their base in Paris.
A student of the medical school who also testified at the trial, mentioned that a week later Kitharitzis had returned to Thessaloniki, with an Italian woman named Luciana, whom he presented as his wife, while Kyriakidis, going abroad, told friends that he was working for an organization.
The May 29 Movement, named by the date on which its creation was decided in Paris, changed into the May 20 organization, and later, Giotopoulos and representatives of the extreme left organizations People's Revolutionary Resistance (LEA), People's Revolutionary Movement (LEK), and the Movement of October 20, which was a transformation of May 29 and was supported by Curiel Apparat, created the Revolutionary Organization November 17. LEA, which was based in Rome and published a newspaper, the Epithesi (Attack), later changed into ELA (Greek People's Resistance).
 GIOTOPOULOS' WIFE IS BELIEVED TO BE IN PATMOSAthens, 18 July 2002 (15:22 UTC+2)
According to information, the wife of Alexandros Giotopoulos, Mari Terez Pinot, who suffers from an incurable disease, is in the Aegean island of Patmos.
Giotopoulos, who was arrested in the island of Lipsi, near Patmos, yesterday while he was ready to board a hydrofoil to go to Patmos, is regarded as a senior member of the 17 November terrorist organization.
 MALESIOS: DETERMINATION TO PUT AN END TO TERRORISMAthens, 18 July 2002 (15:06 UTC+2)
The terrorists, whoever they are and wherever they are, will be arrested and tried by the Greek justice. The Greek police work systematically following a specific plan toward this end. The above were stated in Parliament today by Undersecretary of Public Order, Vangelis Malesios responding to a relevant question by independent Parliament deputy Giorgos Karatzaferis.
Mr. Malesios stated characteristically that countering terrorism is a top priority for the Ministry of Public Order and there is determination to put an end to it.
From his side, Mr. Karatzaferis maintained that at 3am an army officer was arrested at Ambelokipi, Athens, while at the same time at the Oropos-Kalamos motorway the Americans were to turn over Koufodinas, another 17 November terrorist organization member, to the Greek authorities and wondered why this did not happen.
He also made insinuations targeting a Parliament deputy who, allegedly, was in the local PASOK office in Gizi, Athens together with Koufodinas and was removed by Andreas Papandreou and asked why he is not questioned by the police.
 STATEMENTS BY BAUCHER ON THE "17 NOVEMBER" INVESTIGATIONSWashington, 18 July 2002 (15:40 UTC+2)
US State Department spokesman Richard Baucher, called to comment on the developments in the efforts against terrorism in Greece, reiterated that it is an anti-terrorist operation launched by the Greek authorities and any relevant question should be directed to them.
Mr. Baucher added that the United States are interested in the specific issue and cooperate very well with the Greek agencies handling it.