U.S., British ambassadors lament decision to grant furlough to 17N terrorist

The U.S. and British ambassadors to Greece criticized on Thursday a decision of Korydallos” prison council to grant a two-day furlough to terrorist group November 17’s convicted hitman Dimitris Koufodinas.

“I add my voice to those from across Greece’s political spectrum deploring prison council decision to release a convicted terrorist, murderer and 17N leader. Our democracies rest on independent judicial institutions, but today’s furlough dishonors the victims’ memory and their families,” U.S. envoy Geoffrey Pyatt said in a tweet accompanied by the names of those killed.

The view was echoed by Ambassador Kate Smith, who said she respected the decision but was “deeply disappointed” by it.

“We respect the independence of Greek Justice, but we are deeply disappointed by the decision to grant a furlough from prison to a terrorist murderer, and we share the pain caused by this decision to the families of the victims,” Smith said in a tweet.

The 17N terror group assassinated 23 people in 103 attacks on U.S., British, Turkish and Greek targets. The American victims were Richard Welch, CIA station chief in Athens (1975); George Tsantes, a US Navy Captain executive of JUSMAGG (1983); Nikos Veloutsos, driver of the above-mentioned (1983); William Nordeen, a US Navy Captain, killed by a car bomb (1988) and Ronald O. Stewart, a US Air Force Sergeant, killed by a bomb (1991).

November 17 killed the UK embassy’s military attaché, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, on June 15, 2000. He was the group’s last victim.