Convicted terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas has ended his 65-day hunger strike, started in a bid to be moved to a prison in Athens, on Sunday.
The convicted murderer, and member of the defunct, far-left November 17 (17N) terrorist group, announced the decision through a statement released by his lawyer Ioanna Kourtovik.
In the statement, Koufontinas thanked “friends and comrades” who “stood in solidarity” with him as he refused to eat, and, for a period, to drink, until he was moved from high security Domokos prison in central Greece, to Korydallos, in Athens.
His repeated calls to be transferred to the prison were rejected, however, and after his health continued to deteriorate, Koufontinas ended the hunger strike on Sunday.
hunger strike inspired rallies across Greece
Koufontinas’ choice to stop eating sparked protest, rallies, and demonstrations in support of the convicted terrorist, causing great concern in Greece and throughout Europe.
In response to the demonstrations for his cause, Koufontinas stated Sunday:
“The world judges those who took to the streets, but what is happening out there is much more important than the reason why it started.”
“In the face of the force of these struggles, I declare, from my part, that with my heart and mind I am there, among you all.”
Koufontinas and 17N Terrorist Group
Koufontinas was a leading member of the 17N terrorist group, and is currently serving 11 life sentences for a series of murders. He has never expressed remorse for the killings.
17N was formed in 1975 and led by Alexandros Giotopoulos. Koufontinas was the main hit man for the group.
The terror group conducted an extensive urban guerrilla campaign against the Greek state, banks, and businesses, as well as American, Turkish, and British targets.
It committed 103 known armed robberies, assassinations, and bombing attacks, during which 23 people were killed.
Koufontinas’ bid to be transferred
In 2018, he was moved from Korydallos Prison in Athens to a low-security agricultural facility after the prison council approved his parole request, citing “exemplary behavior.”
He was granted at least six temporary prison leaves during the period 2017-19. During one of his leaves he was spotted leisurely strolling the streets of Athens.
In 2020, Koufodinas was sent to a high security prison in Domokos, in central Greece.
His supporters claimed the move to the new facility was unlawful and punitive. He started a hunger strike in early January of 2021 to be moved back to Korydallos.