Escaped Greek terrorist vows to fight govt

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Associated Press

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 21 at 5:34 AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek fugitive who vanished on furlough from prison while serving six life sentences for being in a deadly terrorist organization has vowed a return to armed action.

Christodoulos Xiros railed against the handling of Greece's financial crisis and threatened the media, the judiciary and the Greek government in an Internet post on Monday.

"I once again decided to make the guerrilla rifle thunder against those who stole our lives and sold our dreams to make a profit," Xiros said.

The posting included a video of him reading a seven-page statement, the text itself and a photo of him in front of pictures of 19th-century Greek resistance fighters and Latin American rebel Che Guevara.

His lawyer, Frangiskos Ragoussis, confirmed that the posting was genuine.

Xiros, 55, was convicted in 2003 along with two of his brothers of belonging to the November 17 organization. The group, which emerged in the mid-1970s, claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombings and shootings against foreign diplomats and Greek politicians and businessmen over nearly three decades.

Xiros vanished Jan. 7 while on a seven-day leave from prison to visit his family.

In his statement Monday, Xiros also slammed the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party and invited Greece's security forces to join with him.

He reserved particular bile for the two parties in Greece's governing coalition, the conservative New Democracy and the socialist Pasok, accusing them of treason and stating that the "price of their treason is death."

Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras responded late Monday: "We will not be stopped by the various types of extremists or by the threats made by terrorists."

He vowed to tighten controls on convicts considered dangerous.

"We will close every gap and loophole in a system that appears to be designed for the well-being of extremists rather than the safety of the citizenry."

Xiros described Greece and other European countries as having become colonies under "German occupation." Germany is the single largest contributor toward international rescue loans that Greece has been relying on since 2010. In return, the country has had to impose harsh austerity measures that have led to spiraling unemployment and a plunge in living standards.

"If we ever meet again, which I don't hope (and neither should you) you will do well to kill me. Because if you take me captive again, I will leave again to fight you to the end," Xiros said.

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said he would not comment on the thoughts of a terrorist but added authorities are doing what they can to return him to prison.

November 17, which mixed Marxist ideology with nationalism, killed 23 people — including British, American and Turkish diplomats and military officials — and managed to evade detection for decades before being broken up after a string of arrests in 2002.

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