close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
AFP
February 26, 2021

Alarm in Greece over far-left hitman on hunger strike

World

AFP
February 26, 2021

Athens: Concern mounted in Greece on Thursday over the failing health of a far-left hitman, whose life is in danger after a long hunger strike in prison.

Dimitris Koufodinas, formerly the top assassin for the defunct November 17 extremist group, was admitted to a hospital in Lamia, central Greece, on Monday in serious condition after refusing food for 48 days over a failed prison transfer request.

His partner and son’s mother, Angeliki Sotiropoulou, told AFP on Thursday that the 63-year-old was now in a “critical condition” and “borderline comatose”. Koufodinas is seeking a transfer from a high-security prison in Domokos, central Greece, to Korydallos prison in Athens to be near his family.

Amnesty International’s Greek branch also recently noted that Domokos is badly overpopulated. The authorities’ refusal to satisfy his demand was “arbitrary and punitive”, his lawyer Ioanna Kourtovik told AFP, adding that in violation of the prisoner’s rights, she had been denied access to documents explaining the transfer refusal.

Hundreds of lawyers and intellectuals have signed petitions calling on judicial authorities to respect Koufodinas’ rights. The union of Greek judges and magistrates joined the call on Wednesday, urging the authorities to “reconsider” their stance and take “all legal measures to protect his life and health”. Prison authorities argue that only suspects in pre-trial detention, not long-term convicts, are incarcerated at Korydallos.

Dubbed ‘Poison Hand’ by Greek media, Koufodinas was the main hitman of the far-left Greek extremist organisation November 17 that was dismantled in 2002. He is serving multiple life sentences, having been convicted of 11 killings.

November 17 launched dozens of attacks between 1975 and 2000 that killed 23 people. They included the CIA station chief in Athens, several prominent Greek businessmen, Turkish diplomats and a British military attache.

One of Koufodinas’ victims was Pavlos Bakoyannis, a lawmaker who was the father of Athens Mayor Costas Bakoyannis and brother-in-law to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Under the previous leftist administration, Koufodinas had been given furlough on several occasions, and had been allowed to serve part of his sentence in a prison farm.

Upon coming to power in 2019, Mitsotakis’ government tightened prison regulations for violent crime offenders. On Tuesday, supporters of Koufodinas demonstrated outside the official residence of Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, calling on her to intervene.