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Christodoulos Xiros, convicted member of terrorist organisation November 17, flees from police

A manhunt has been launched by the Greek police for Christodoulos Xiros, a convicted member of the terrorist organisation November 17, after he failed to appear at a police station in the northern town of Chalkidiki. Xiros had been given leave from prison for a period of nine days over the holidays.
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NEWSROOM
Tuesday 7 January 2014
As is being reported on Greek television Christodoulos Xiros, who is currently serving a jail sentence in Koridallos prison, had been granted leave from the 1st of January for a period of nine days on the condition that he appear at the Chalkidiki police station on a daily basis. While he had done so up until Sunday, on Monday he failed to appear, prompting police to declare him a fugitive.

Background

Christodoulos Xiros, born in 1958 in Ikaria, was the first member of November 17 to be arrested after his younger brother Savvas Xiros, was injured by the premature detonation of a bomb he was apparently trying to plant on the 29th of June 2002. After being arrested in the Athens Evangelismos hospital where he was visiting his brother in July, Christodoulos gave detailed information to police regarding the activity of November 17 and confessed to taking part in a number of the terrorist organisation’s operations which included the assassinations of 23 people beginning in 1975. Later, however, Christodoulos recanted his confession claiming that it had been extorted by anti-terrorist police, “who had Savvas in their hands.” In court he denied all charges of involvement in November 17 claiming that the only evidence of his involvement was his relationship to Savvas.

He was ultimately convicted of involvement in 6 assassinations, bombings and robberies and of membership of a criminal organisation. He was given six life sentences plus 25 years in prison.


Xiros’s most recent flight from justice will of course raise questions as to why a man convicted of such serious crimes was allowed to leave prison in the first place giving him the opportunity to flee.

Of Xiros’s flight, his lawyer, Frangiskos Ragousis, said in an interview today on SKAI TV that the move amounted to a ‘political decision’ in line with his client’s actions to date. “He had the opportunity and fled, just as any revolutionary must,” Mr Ragousis said. He added that he is not in contact with Xiros and that he had not known of Xiros’s plan to flee.

Speaking to the same station, government spokesperson Simos Kedikoglou said that he was certain that the mobilisation of the police would result in Xiros’s re-arrest while noting that, ‘these things shouldn’t happen.’ He added that Xiros’s lawyer’s statements were ‘hair-raising,’ and said that the incident proved that convicted terrorists must not be treated as normal criminals.  
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