Greek judges ruled on Friday that Dimitris Koufodinas, the convicted terrorist of the now-defunct November 17 group, must remain in prison until September 2027, when he can then apply for parole.
In 2003, Koufodinas, 63, was sentenced to 11 life sentences and 25 years in prison for 11 murders, attempted murder, membership of a criminal organization, as well as the possession and use of weapons and explosives.
Koufodinas had applied to the Council for Criminal Procedure in Lamia to be released on parole as he has completed 19 years of his actual sentence.
The Athens Macedonia News Agency reports that his application was based on the provisions of a more lenient penal code which allowed for all lifers to be released after 16 or a maximum of 19 years’ imprisonment. He argued that even though the penal law has been changed, the most beneficial law for the convict is always applied in such cases.
However, the Council for Criminal Procedure agreed with the prosecutor’s argument that the old penal code referred to cases of convicts sentenced to one life sentence and not to convicts with multiple life sentences, such as Koufodinas, and thus rejected his request.
The new penal code of 2019 states that convicts with multiple life sentences can request conditional release after 25 years’ imprisonment.
Koufodinas granted several furloughs
In 2020 Koufodinas was sent to a high-security prison in Domokos, in central Greece. His supporters claimed the move to the new facility is unlawful and punitive. He started a hunger strike in early January of 2021, demanding to be transferred to a prison of his choice.
From 2015 to 2019, the convicted killer was granted several furloughs. In 2017, US Ambassador to Athens, Jeffrey Pyatt added his voice of dissent to those of the Greek opposition parties, against one of the furloughs issued to Koufodinas.
“I add my voice to those from across Greece’s political spectrum deploring prison council decision to release a convicted terrorist, murderer & N17 leader. Our democracies rest on independent judicial institutions, but today’s furlough dishonors the victims’ memory & their families,” Pyatt wrote on his official Twitter account.
November 17 responsible for 23 killings
The November 17 group was formed in 1975 and led by Alexandros Giotopoulos. It conducted an extensive urban guerrilla campaign against the Greek state, banks, and businesses, as well as American, Turkish, and British targets.
The organization committed 103 known armed robberies, assassinations, and bombing attacks, during which 23 people were killed. It was disbanded in 2002 after the arrest and trial of many of its members.