Alket Rizaj, one of the two protagonists of a Hollywood-style repeat helicopter escape from Korydallos Prison in February 2009, was found guilty on several felonies by a criminal court on Thursday, and threatened the state prosecutor after the ruling was announced.

 

The trial concerned the helicopter escape from Korydallos Prison on February 22, 2009 by notorious fugitive convicts Vassilis Paleokostas, who is still at large, and Rizaj.

Codefendants in the case are Rizaj’s companion Aspassia Mitropia, an Albanian couple and a businessman. The charges include participation in a criminal organisation, grand possession of arms and ammunition, abduction of the helicopter pilot (in the second prison break in Feb. 2009) and forcing him to commit a criminal action, hijacking of the helicopter, endangering the security of aircraft, moral instigation of a crime, theft, forgery, and repeated counts of illegal possession of a weapon.

The Criminal Appeals Tribunal found Rizaj and Mitropia guilty on all charges.

Upon hearing the verdict, Rizaj threw a tissue in prosecutor Yiannis Angelis' face and threatened him: "You will be dealing with the Revolutionaries' Sect (terror group). You'll see".

A sentence of 25 years and 10 months for Rizaj was handed down by the criminal appeals court later the same day (arising from the merger of a total sentence of 28 years and five months).

Mitropia was sentenced to serve 13 years and five months in prison, merged to 10 years, while the court refused to suspend her sentence and ordered that she be sent directly to jail. The defence had asked that the sentence be suspended because of a health problem faced by one of Mitropia's two children, currently staying with their grandmother.

The Albanian Ervis Stefani was sentenced to serve seven years in prison, again not suspended at appeal, and his fiancee Lule Blerina was handed down a sentenced of 15 months imprisonment, suspended for three years.

Greek businessman Chrysanthos Anagnostopoulos, whose car had served as the getaway vehicle that the two escaped convicts used to drive away from the helicopter, was given a sentence of one year in prison, suspended for three years, and fined 1,000 euros.

The court had also ordered a freeze on the process for Vassilis Paleokostas, who is still at large, so that the time elapsed does not lead to the charges against him becoming statute-barred.