Members of Greece’s extreme leftist militant organization “November 17” have begun appeals against multiple life sentences handed down for a 27-year spate of killings. The group of 15, who were given a range of jail terms two years ago, are claiming they were convicted without sufficient evidence.
At least one of the defendants says the sentencing was politically motivated and influenced by pressure from abroad. November 17 murdered 23 Greeks and foreigners in gun and bomb attacks after surfacing in 1975. They targeted businessmen, politicians, and diplomats. The group was named after the date of a failed 1973 student uprising against the country’s then ruling military regime.
Its last victim was British defense attaché, Stephen Saunders, who was shot on his way to work in Athens in 2000. His wife was among those in court as the appeal got underway. Legal experts say it is unlikely the five judges involved will reduce any of the sentences. The case is expected to last several months.