Convicted November 17 terrorist Christodoulos Xeros, who walked away from a furlough he was given despite serving six life sentence for six assassinations warned in a video he posted that he’s gunning for political leaders from the ruling New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his partner, the PASOK Socialists, for imposing austerity.
He said the government had destroyed democracy and ruined people’s lives with big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions on the orders of international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) that is putting up $325 billion in two bailouts.
He criticizes the media, the judiciary, the police and the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party, and invited Greece’s security forces to join with him. The statement reserved particular bile for New Democracy and PASOK, accusing them of treason and stating that the “price of their treason is death,” the Associated Press reported.
In extensive references to the financial crisis, he claims that Greece and other European countries have become colonies under “German occupation.” Germany is the single largest contributor toward international rescue loans that Greece has been relying on for years.
“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 in the statement.
He reserved particular bile for New Democracy and PASOK, accusing them of betraying their country and stating that the “price of their treason is death.”
New Democracy spokeswoman Anna Asimakopoulou retorted: “Democracy has nothing to fear from the ramblings of murderers and ruthless criminals. The Greek people are united against them.”
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.
November 17, which mixed Marxist ideology with nationalism, killed 23 people — including British, American and Turkish diplomats and military officials — before being broken up after a string of arrests in 2002.
Five Americans attached to the U.S. Embassy in Athens over the years were among the victims and American officials expressed concern over Xeros’ escape amid fears he would return to armed action and insurrection against the government that let him go.
Xeros prompted a nationwide manhunt after absconding during a holiday vacation from a high-security prison, the eighth he had been given. He was convicted in 2003, along with two of his brothers, of belonging to the dreaded November 17 group and had served 10 years for involvement in a series of shootings and bombings.
An Internet statement posted on Jan. 20, purportedly written by him on Jan. 14 rails against the Greek financial crisis and the austerity measures continuing to be imposed by the government.
The posting includes an apparently recent photo and a video of Xeros making the statement and showing his anger at the pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions implemented on the insistence of the Troika which put up $325 billion in two bailouts to save the economy.
“I have taken the decision once more to blast my guerrilla rifle against those who steal our lives and our dreams to make a profit,” Xeros says. “We want our rights and will win with a gun in our hand.”
He vowed never to be taken alive but “will fight to the bitter end”.
The statement, dated Jan. 14, is accompanied by a video and photograph of Xeros, against a backdrop containing the images of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, Greek war of independence fighters Georgios Karaiskakis and Theodoros Kolokotronis, and Greek second world war resistance leader Aris Velouchiotis.
In the statement, Xeros claims that “Democracy is long since dead and the abortion that remains is so blatantly fascist that it has the arms of the swastika sticking from it.”
“We will not be fooled any more. Nothing will save you, nor the Dachau that you are planning, nor armies of mercenaries. Whatever you do, very soon the river of rage will swell and will drown you!” he said, adding he was directing his vitriol at people he identified as the “scum” he said had destroyed the country and are the enemy of the people.
Quoting a verse from the song Karaiskakis by Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Xeros adds: “When I return, I’ll f–k you.”
His lawyer, Frangiskos Ragousis, who earlier said he wasn’t surprised that his client didn’t return from the furlough earlier told Antenna TV that he has no idea where he is. “I’ve had no contact with him,” he said.
Although he is an officer of the court, Ragousis said his client was right to flee from justice and be a fugitive. “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.
Xeros spent New Year’s Eve in Korydallos Prison in the company of members of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, partying with the apparent consent of guards, documents show.
Prison records seen by Kathimerini show that Xeros was granted access to spend time with the group’s members regularly in the days preceding his disappearance.
Between December 17 and 31, Xeros visited the prison’s “A” wing, where Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire members where being held, a total of 10 times. He spent more than 21 hours in their company.
New Democracy MP Bakoyianni, whose first husband was killed by November 17, and her children said they want Xiros imprisoned again although the government already let him out.
“Christodoulos Xeros is a ruthless, hardened serial killer who insists on exploiting the moral superiority of democracy. He will have his place in prison,” she said.
She didn’t say why neither she nor the government hadn’t made a move to prohibit terrorists or serial killers from being eligible for the furlough program.
Samaras said his government would “not be stopped by the threats of terrorists.”
SYRIZA, which has been accused of harboring sympathy for terrorists and anarchists, said Xeros didn’t believe in democracy.
The party characterized him as a self-styled “defender” of “the people’s interest,” and stressed that the activities of such self-proclaimed avengers in absentia of massive struggles has proven to lead to the strengthening of repression and the intimidation of society and to the reproduction of a vicious circle of violence that is taken advantage from the status quo powers to strike the popular movement of their rights and freedoms.
“Already, there are people who rub their hands in glee and are given a first-class opportunity to terrorize working people, to change the agenda and prolong their stay in power,” the statement added. It stressed that, “These people will be disproven.”
Social media burning up the net about his reappearance, although instead of expected dread there’s a lot of humor and sarcasm on Twitter in the era of social media.
After the video was screened, there were thousands of comments from Twitter users that commented on his appearance, his Three Stooges haircut and his clothing.
“He could have written kisses at the end of his letter to make the atmosphere lighter,” said one Tweeter. Another said: “It’s true what they said that the memorandum hides opportunities. Even Christodoulos Xeros has become a leader.
“One thing is sure from Xeros’ letter. He didn’t write the proclamations of 17 November,” it was said sarcastically. “If you watch Xeros’ video the other way around you can see Vyndra’s goal on Barcelona.”
Addressing the account Xeros used on Twitter, another said that, “Today on the video you look like a playmobile … what kind of haircut is this? You need to urgently go to a barber.”
The 55-year-old musical instrument maker disappeared on Jan. while on a nine-day furlough. A police investigation that is trying to piece together Xeros’s movements since Jan. 5, the last time he reported to police in Halkidiki, northern Greece, in line with his furlough obligations, suggests he went to Thessaloniki before traveling on to Athens, where he visited his sister at her home near Attikis Square.
A young teacher, who Xeros is believed to have met during a visit to his native island of Icaria, is said to live in the same area.