Nikos Maziotis, who has been wanted by Greek Police for participating in several terrorist attacks and bank robberies since 2012, was arrested yesterday in downtown Athens.
Maziotis was on the Greek Police radar for the first time in 1991, when he was arrested on May 15 after refusing to serve in the army. He was given a one year sentence – with a three-year suspension – in September 1991. He was then called to enroll in the army for a second time but did not respond.
He was arrested again in October 1992 for insubordination and insulting the army. In December of the same year, he went on a hunger strike for 57 days, whilst being detained in the military prison of Thessaloniki. After major protests from social organizations, he was released in January 1993.
In November 1995, he was once again attracting police attention as one of the 500 anarchists who occupied the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). He was eventually handed a 12-month suspended sentence. A year later, Greek Police suspected that he had participated in the major incidents that took place at NTUA.
Maziotis, the son of an accountant, had just found a job at a forge when he was arrested again on January 13, 1998, after his prints were found on a bomb that was spotted outside the Greek Ministry of Industry on December 5, 1997.
“I only regret making this technical error. Nothing else,” Maziotis said during his plea. “If you convict me, which I know you will, nothing will change”.
“Besides, prison is a school for every social rebel, since it tests his mental strength. And if he lasts, then he has more faith in the things for which he was arrested.”
The Greek terrorist organization Anarchist Guerrilla Formation assumed responsibility for the bomb, as well as those placed at NTUA. Among the individuals arrested that day was the then 29-year-old Panagiota Roupa, who later became Maziotis’ partner and wife.
Maziotis also wrote a letter to the Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia, after he had completed 18 months in prison, assuming full political responsibility for his actions.
“I built and placed the device in the Ministry of Industry and Development myself. I do not consider myself an armed rebel but a social rebel,” he said.
Maziotis was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment but his sentence was reduced and he was released after three-and-a-half years, in August 2001.
In January 2004, he accused the Greek Anti-Terrorist Unit of causing an accident in which he almost died, claiming a motorcycle without license plates had been watching him. Three years later, he accused the same unit for indiscriminate monitoring and leaks to the press with the aim of making him a suspect.
The Revolutionary Struggle terrorist group, which is now accountable for 15 ‘hits’ between 2003 and 2009, made its first attack in September 2003 with two bombings on the day of the plea of Alexandros Giotopoulos, the former leader of terrorist group ’17N’.
Maziotis and his wife Roupa were arrested in April 2010, when police announced that they had seized a hard drive from their home, containing old notices of the Revolutionary Struggle, plans for future terrorist attacks and manuscripts of draft notices. However, they were conditionally released in October 2011.
The defendants were supposed to regularly appear at the Police Department of Exarcheia, in Athens. However, on June 10, 2012, they disappeared. Until Maziotis’ arrest on Wednesday, they had both been wanted, and according to police, had also been involved in several bank robberies.
Between March 2012 and August 2013, Maziotis – along with a group of approximately five or six people – carried out five armed robberies, stealing more than 1.5 million euros.
On January 14, 2013, a group of terrorists attacked the offices of New Democracy party in Athens using AK-47s and attempting to use a rocket-propelled grenade. Even though the Popular Fighters Group has claimed responsibility for the attack, police suspected that Maziotis and the Revolutionary Struggle were behind it. The Popular Fighters Group also claimed responsibility for an attack on the German ambassador in Athens.
Finally, on April 10, 2014, police recorded the last known attack by the Revolutionary Struggle, when a car bomb was placed outside the Bank of Greece and the explosion caused damage in the area.