The lawyer for convicted November 17 terrorist Christodoulos Xeros, who walked away from a furlough on Jan. 6, said he doesn’t know where his client is but said he was right to flee from justice.
“I ‘ve had no contact with him,” Frangiskos Ragousis told Antenna TV. He earlier said he understood why Xeros would not return from the furlough – the eighth he had been granted in 18 months despite serving six life sentences for six murders.
“We did not take this decision together. But I stand behind his decision. I cannot come out and say that I condemn this action,” Ragousis said. An arrest warrant was issued for Xeros after his 9-day officially expired late Jan. 9.
Xeros was convicted in 2003, along with two of his brothers, of belonging to the November 17 urban guerrilla group, which killed 23 people – including foreign diplomats, policemen and businessmen – between 1975 and 2000. Xeros vanished while on New Year’s leave from Korydallos prison in Athens after promising he would return to jail for the rest of his life.
Greek police said they were putting together clues they believe will lead to finding him. The investigation so far has shown that he violated the term of his release by traveling from Thessaloniki to Athens to visit his sister at her home near Attikis Square.
Xeros, 55, was said to have been associated with a 27-year-old woman, a teacher he met while on a vacation to the island of Ikaria he was allowed to take.
Police believe that Xeros traveled to Athens in a car being driven by his nephew and reports said the pair can be seen in footage from a security camera at one of the toll gates on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway.
Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou and Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias visited the Maximos Mansion to brief Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on the progress of the investigation. His government has been embarrassed by the escape just as it took the reins of the symbolic European Union Presidency.
Counter-terrorism officers questioned Alicia Romero, the Spanish girlfriend of Xeros’s brother, Savvas, as well as the young teacher who is alleged to have become involved with Xeros during his previous furloughs. According to unconfirmed reports, police searched the central Athens homes of both women.
The nephew is alleged to have told police that he was not aware driving his uncle to Athens constituted a violation of the conditions of Xeros’s furlough and claimed Xeros had told him he intended to visit some friends before returning to Korydallos Prison.