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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-08-08

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

August 8, 2002


  • [01] Alleged 'N17' leader slapped with more than 80 felony counts
  • [02] Police believe ''N17'' text unimportant
  • [03] Lesperoglou requests postponement of incarceration pending new trial
  • [04] No new developments in Kos weapons affair
  • [05] Stocks rise, fuelled by European markets
  • [06] Satisfactory number to date of volunteer workers for Athens 2004 Olympic Games
  • [07] FIFA official visits Athens 2004 organizing committee
  • [08] Saatchi, Andersen win tender for 2004 Olympics tourism plan
  • [09] Greece, Australia sign agreement on free movement of youth
  • [10] Greece wins first gold medals in European Athletics Championships
  • [11] Cyprus question influenced by developments in Turkey

  • [01] Alleged 'N17' leader slapped with more than 80 felony counts

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    A voluminous indictment replete with numerous felony charges has reportedly been compiled against the alleged co-founder and leader of the notorious “November 17” terrorist group, Alexandros Giotopoulos, who is currently jailed without bond.

    Sources said the relevant indictment against the 58-year-old Giotopoulos -- the Paris-born son of a noted pre-war leftist intellectual -- lists charges related to crimes from 1984 to the present, all based on testimony provided by Christodoulos Xiros. The latter confessed to being a particularly active “N17” operative and hit man since the early ‘80s.

    Xiros is being held in a maximum-security cellblock at Korydallos prison, although in a separate wing from Giotopoulos.

    As opposed to Christodoulos Xiros, Giotopoulos- who admitted that he lived under an assumed name in Greece for almost three decades before he was arrested on the sparsely populated and remote Dodecannese isle of Leipsoi last month – denied any connection to “N1” or of even knowing any of the other 14 suspects arrested in the ongoing criminal investigation, the largest in modern Greek history.

    The indictment against Giotopoulos reportedly includes nine counts of homicide; 20 attempted homicides; participation in nine armed robberies and 19 bombings; 13 counts of grand larceny; multiple felony weapons charges and even charges of torching forestland, among others, all in all, a total of more than 80 felonies.

    More felony counts are expected to be filed against him after Savvas Xiros, Christodoulos’ younger brother, finishes providing his testimony to prosecutors. Savvas, one of three Xiros brothers implicated in “N17’s” 27-year reign of terror, provided police with an unprecedented breakthrough in eradicating the terror gang when he was injured in an apparent botched bombing at the port of Piraeus in late June. He is currently recovering from injuries at an Athens hospital under guard.

    Visiting hours for N17 suspects: Meanwhile, visiting hours were again extended on Wednesday for the family members and attorneys of the group of “N17” suspects held in an isolated cellblock at the women’s facility of Korydallos – the largest penitentiary in Greece.

    According to statements by the family members to reporters afterwards, prison officials promised to allow the group of 14 “N17” suspects at Korydallos access to newspapers – but not the possession of an archive or file clippings – as well as radios and television sets inside the one-person cells.

    Finally, prison authorities said they were considering the possibility of transferring one of the men charged in the case, school teacher Costas Tellios, to a special cell in the facility’s hospital ward.

    18 more high security prison cells to be delivered this week: Eighteen more cells will be transformed into maximum-security units by the end of this week or early next week at the Korydallos penitentiary in Athens where 14 “N17” alleged members are held, toward a total of 32 such units as initially planned by the ministry of justice, sources said on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, one room in the hospital ward and another at the psychiatric ward of the penitentiary are turned into maximum-security areas, while a ministry of justice letter forwarded to the public order ministry indicated an off-grounds hospital unit to be used for incidents involving “N17” suspects that cannot be handled by the hospital of the penitentiary.

    Card-phones will be installed next week at both maximum-security wings for the detainees, while up to now there has been no requests for waving the protection of privacy of telephone calls from the card-phones, or any requests for lab comparisons of DNA test findings.

    Starting next week, the group of 14 “N17” suspects will be allowed access battery-operated transistor radios and their favorite newspapers will be supplied by prison employees; however, safety concerns make prison authorities still hesitant over al-lowing the presence of television sets inside the cells.

    Finally, prison authorities said that one of the men charged in the case, schoolteacher Theologos Psaradellis, will be put on a special diet due to his failing health condition.

    [02] Police believe ''N17'' text unimportant

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    Police officials on Wednesday dismissed as unimportant a two-page statement sent to an Athens television station, claiming to originate from members of the murderous ''November 17'' terrorist organization.

    The typewritten text, which used higher and lower case letters, does not bare the trademark seal of the terrorist group and unlike all others of the past begins with the ''ladies and gentlemen'' heading.

    In justifying these differences, the editor of the statement noted that there was no such need, stressing that he/she was of the first generation of the terrorist group and claimed that a finger print in ink at the bottom of the text was the same with that found on the first statement sent to a French newspaper in the 1970s.

    The writer underlined that the terrorist group claimed responsibility for all attacks between 1974 and 1983, saying that the group ended its actions at that time, as agents of intelligence agencies and of the state security services infiltrated the group.

    The text also noted that one of those who did not submit and was killed was ''Spank''. ''Spank'' probably refers to late Christos Tsoutsouvis, who was killed by police in a firefight in 1985, as this nickname was uttered by his sister at his funeral.

    Commenting on the text, government spokesman Telemachos Chytiris said ''the investigation is continuing with responsibility and sobriety. All is taken into account and all is given the value it deserves''.

    [03] Lesperoglou requests postponement of incarceration pending new trial

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    A man re-arrested on terrorism-related charges, following the annulment by the Supreme Court of an appellate court verdict acquitting him of the attempted murder of a police officer in Athens 10 years ago, on Wednesday submitted a request to postpone the order for his incarceration.

    Avraam Lesperoglou, 49, who was transferred to a local prison after his high-profile arrest on Saturday evening appeared before a relevant prosecutor on Monday for a more-or-less routine procedure before being remanded to custody.

    Lesperoglou had been convicted in a first instance trial and sentenced to 17 years in prison. A split 4-3 ruling subsequently overturned that conviction at the appellate level, a verdict which itself was thrown out last week by a Supreme Court prosecutor. A new trial was set for Sept. 9.

    Lesperoglou requested that he does not begin serving the prison term before the court date and called his arrest unjust.

    He had been released from prison in November 2001 after an appellate military court accepted his petition for parole after serving three-fifths of a 3 1/2-year sentence for evading conscription.

    [04] No new developments in Kos weapons affair

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    A closely watched investigation over the audacious theft of weapons from a military depot on the island of Kos last week continued on Wednesday, although no new light was shed on the culprits or as to the whereabouts of the stolen firearms.

    The theft of weapons from a military base is in itself a serious and worrying development, although the recent unprecedented breakthrough in capturing members of the deadly “November 17” terrorist group, has dramatically heightened concern.

    Authorities have so cited three calls from unidentified persons claiming responsibility for the theft by “N17” -- one, in fact, reportedly was made from inside the military depot on the night of break-in. All three claims, however, are judged as prank calls.

    The Kos case generated heightened concern because of similarities to an actual "N17" operation in the late 1980s, when dozens of anti-tank rockets were, in fact, stolen by the terror group from a camp in central Greece (Sykourio). However, initial reports from the Kos probe paint the theft as an "inside job".

    Some 25 people, including army officers, NCOs and conscripts have been questioned so far, while five “suspicious” fingerprints discovered in the warehouse where the weapons were taken from are also under scrutiny. The army announced over the weekend that 17 handguns, three machine guns and three infantry assault rifles had been stolen from the camp.

    A top military prosecutor is overseeing the probe.

    [05] Stocks rise, fuelled by European markets

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished higher on Wednesday, fuelled by rising markets elsewhere in Europe.

    Also perking up trade were better than expected first-half results reported by EFG Eurobank Ergasias.

    The general share index gained 1.59 percent to end at the day's high of 2,127.12 points. Turnover was 64.2 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.83 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 1.23 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities 1.47 percent up.

    Of 361 stocks traded, advances led declines at 222 to 80 with 59 issues remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Public Power Corporation, Football Pools Organization, Forthnet, and Alpha Bank.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures edge up: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished slightly higher on Wednesday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a slight premium.

    Contracts on the mid-cap index traded at a premium of about 0.50 percent.

    Turnover was 71.8 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.83 percent up; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 1.23 percent higher.

    Trade was slim in stock futures, with Intracom and Alpha Bank drawing the most market players.

    Bond Market Close: Prices rise in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished higher in heavy trade focusing on five-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 4.95 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 34 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 3.9 billion euros.

    Buy orders accounted for the bulk of trade.

    [06] Satisfactory number to date of volunteer workers for Athens 2004 Olympic Games

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    The Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) views as particularly satisfactory the number of people who have so far applied to do voluntary work for the Olympic Games.

    A total of 30,687 applications were sent to ATHOC by August 2.

    A noteworthy fact is that the number of applications sent in a space of less than six months corresponded to one-third of the total number desired. About 5,000 applications are sent on average every month.

    The majority of the candidate volunteers (17,495) preferred to send their applications through Internet, while the remaining applications were submitted to the General Volunteers Department of Athens 2004.

    It is estimated that the overall number of applications which will sent will be in excess of the target, which is about 120,000-150,000, of which 60,000 volunteers required for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be chosen.

    More women than men have applied to do volunteer work. Of the 30,687 applications sent by August 2, 55.6 per cent are women. Young women aged between 16-30 represent 38 percent of the total number of volunteers. The corresponding percentage of men of the same age groups touches 24 per cent of the total number of volunteers.

    Eighty per cent of the total number of volunteers are aged between 16-40. Half of them - 40 per cent of the total - are between 20-30 years old.

    The overwhelming majority of the applications (more than 70 per cent) are from Greeks who either live in Greece (62.4 per cent) or abroad (11.9 per cent). One in four volunteers are foreigners.

    22.2 per cent of applications have been submitted by foreigners living abroad and 2.2 per cent by foreigners living in Greece.

    Fifty-six per cent of candidate volunteers have declared that they have secured a place to stay in Athens during the Olympic Games, while 15.3 per cent have stated they have a possibility of securing a place to stay.

    Other than Athens, volunteers also wish to offer their services in the other four cities hosting Olympic events, even though they do not reside there. About 50 per cent are interested in working in Patra, Irakleio and Volos but they do not have the possibility of securing stay in these cities. However, the number of volunteers which will be needed in these cities will be much less than those required in Athens.

    People of all ages have applied to do volunteer work, even men and women over the age of 80.

    [07] FIFA official visits Athens 2004 organizing committee

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    FIFA official charged with the Athens 2004 Olympic Games soccer tournament file Jacqueline Moresi expressed her satisfaction over the progress in matters related to her field of interest.

    ''We are totally satisfied of the progress that has been made in all sectors. This of course is nothing new,'' Moresi said, adding that ''the wish of the international federation is for the final to take place in the Olympic Stadium as was done in the Sydney Olympics''.

    [08] Saatchi, Andersen win tender for 2004 Olympics tourism plan

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    Adel Saatchi & Saatchi with Andersen were named the winner on Wednesday of a tender to devise a tourism marketing plan for Attica ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

    The Greek National Tourism Organization called the tender for the 2002-2004 plan.

    Also named a winner was Minerva, which will undertake creative planning for an Attica publicity drive.

    The marketing campaign, budgeted at more than 2.0 billion drachmas, will fall under the European Union's Third Community Support Framework package of funds.

    The aim of the plan is to ensure that Attica hotels are filled to capacity; to attain a more even distribution of tourism between summer and winter; and to boost per capita spending per tourist.

    Of tourists from abroad, the target countries in the plan are to be the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Russia, the United States of America and Japan.

    [09] Greece, Australia sign agreement on free movement of youth

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    The free movement of youth up to the age of 30 between Greece and Australia as well as their stay in these countries for up to 12 months, is foreseen by a bilateral agreement, which has been signed by the Labor Ministry's General Secretary, Ioanna Panopoulou, and Australian Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock.

    The agreement is the result of consultations, which the prime ministers of the two countries had had. It provides the possibility of the young citizens of Greece and Australia to stay in the respective countries for more than six months (provided by the visa issued by the two countries) and up to 12 months.

    The agreement comes to cover young people wishing to combine tourism and employment.

    [10] Greece wins first gold medals in European Athletics Championships

    Athens, 08/08/2002 (ANA)

    Greece won its first medals, two gold and two bronze, in the European Athletics Championships in Munich on Wednesday.

    Katerina Thanou won the gold medal in the women's 100- meter sprint, clocking 11.10 seconds.

    Thanou, 27, was the silver medallist in the Olympic Games in Sydney and finished third in the previous European Athletics Championships in Budapest in 1998.

    Katerina Vogoli won the gold medal in the women's discus with a throw of 64.31 meters. Tassoula Kelesidou won the bronze medal in the same event with a throw of 63.92 meters.

    Greece's second bronze medal of the day came in the hammer-throw.

    Alexandros Papadimitriou took third place with a throw of 80.21 meters.

    [11] Cyprus question influenced by developments in Turkey

    NICOSIA, 08/08/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    The election campaign in Turkey is set to have a negative fallout on Cyprus but the approval by the Turkish National Assembly of reforms in line with European Union acquis communautaire will have positive repercussions on the Cyprus issue, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides believes.

    The minister also said that efforts to resolve the protracted Cyprus issue will continue after December when the EU will decide on the accession of candidate members ready for membership, including Cyprus.

    "The pending general elections in Turkey, in early November, will affect Cyprus in a negative way. However, the approved re-forms, which indicate a serious approach on the part of Ankara towards Europe, will affect us in a positive manner," the minister told the press on Wednesday.

    Kasoulides said Turkey now has a motive to behave correctly and not to lose its prospects for EU membership and in this respect Ankara should adopt a similar approach towards Cyprus. Replying to questions, the minister said that international issues do influence each other and explained that though the Cyprus question and the situation in Iraq and Cyprus and the Middle East issue are separate problems, they do affect each other.

    "Nobody is living in a vacuum nowadays, one issue seriously affects the other," he added, expressing hope that the current power vacuum in Turkey will not cause any problems to Cyprus' accession course.

    On the prospects of a settlement in Cyprus, the minister said that the peace effort, which started in January this year, will continue until the problem is resolved.

    He said the UN, under whose auspices the peace talks take place, have always believed in the idea of putting forward some kind of a solution plan on Cyprus but this must be done at the appropriate time.

    "The timing is the exclusive prerogative of the UN Secretary General and will depend on the prospect of success of such an attempt, taking into consideration developments and the disposition of those involved," Kasoulides added.

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