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Six terror suspects formally charged

Δημοσίευση 6 Δεκεμβρίου 2010, 10:38 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Six terror suspects formally charged
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Six suspects were formally charged with three felonies -- participation in a terrorist group, aggravated arms possession and acquisition and possession of explosive materials -- on Sunday night, after coordinated operations in suspected terrorist hideouts in wider Athens and other parts of the country the previous day.

Six suspects were formally charged with three felonies -- participation in a terrorist group, aggravated arms possession and acquisition and possession of explosive materials -- on Sunday night, after coordinated operations in suspected terrorist hideouts in wider Athens and other parts of the country the previous day.

The six, who were led before public prosecutors under draconian security measures on Sunday, will appear before an examining magistrate where they are expected to ask for, and receive, an extension for their testimonies. According to sources, all six claimed that they have not been advised of the charge sheets against them and that their rights have not been observed.

Earlier, Greek Police (ELAS) chief Lefteris Economou announced that the six, including a woman, would be remanded on charges of participation in a terrorist organisation, Greek Police (ELAS) chief Lefteris Economou announced on Sunday, and also confirmed that police hastened the arrests of suspects who were under surveillance after evidence turned up that a terrorist hit was being planned.

 

According to the announcement, two people -- identified as Constantine Sakkas, 26 and Alexandros Mitrousias, 21 - were arrested on Saturday afternoon at a safehouse on Kessarias street in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni. A short while later, in simultaneous operations, 30-year-old George Karayiannidis was arrested at a safehouse on Pylis street in Piraeus and 31-year-old Christos Politis at a safehouse in Themistokleous street in the Athens district of Exarchia, 26-year-old woman Styliani Antoniou at a hideout on Platonos street in the Athens district of Kallithea, and 26-year-old Dimitrios Michail in Siteia, Crete.

Police said that Sakkas and Mitrousias, at the time of their arrest in Nea Smyrni, were carrying a knapsack in which police found and confiscated two Glock pistols, a Scorpion submachine gun, a second unidentified submachine gun, a handgrenade, ammunition of various sizes, two cell phones and a USB stick while Karayiannidis, who was arrested in Piraeus, had a forged police identity card on him.

Police searches of a warehouse on Kessarias street in Nea Smyrni, an apartment on Praxitelous street in Piraeus and an apartment on Platonos street in Kallithea, conducted in the presence of prosecutors, turned up three Kalashnikov rifles, a Scorpion submachine gun, five pistols, three handgrenades, a bulletproof vest, a large number of laptop and desktop computers, five kilos of the explosive ANFO, 200 grams of the explosive material TNT, three pairs of traffic signs -- one pair of which had been reported as stolen -- rifle magazines, wigs, full-face hoods, cell phones and a large number of bullets of various diameters, all of which were seized, Economou said.

He said that ballistics tests on the above weaponry did not identify the weapons with past terrorist actions, while testing was continuing for identification with other criminal actions, as well as on the other pieces of evidence seized.

Meanwhile, a search of another hideout in Agrinio, central Greece, revealed a Kalashnikov war rifle, another unidentified war rifle, a Zastava revolver, a bulletproof vest, rifle magazines and bullets of various diameters, a small quantity of cannabis, a female wig, two motorcycle helmets and a cell phone, while in the same vicinity police found and seized a NISSAN car that had been reported stolen in December in Agrinio. The car was found covered with a car hood that had been purchased by one of the arrestees from a shop in Athens on November 29.

Economou noted that there are outstanding arrest warrants against Mitrousias and Karayiannidis on charges of terrorist actions, causing an explosion, acquisition, construction and possession of explosive materials and of setting up and participation in the terror group "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire". Also, Politis had been summoned before an examining magistrate on December 2 in connection a May 22 arson attack behind the Athens Appeals Court and had been released with restrictive conditions. The attack had been claimed by the organisation "Christos Tsoutsouvis Commandos" in a proclamation.

Asked by reporters what the charges were for the other four arrestees -- apart from Mitrousias and Karayiannidis who were wanted in connection with the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire -- Economou said they were being remanded for participation in a terrorist organisation, clarifying that the relevant evidence will be contained in the charge sheet.

To another question, he confirmed that the arrest of the suspects under surveillance had been sped up due to evidence that a terrorist hit was being prepared.

The six arrestees were led before public prosecutors on Sunday afternoon under draconian security measures. The six were transported in six separate jeeps with a massive police escort.

Counter-terrorism police carried out a coordinated swoop on at least four terrorist hideouts in Athens, Piraeus and the periphery on Saturday evening, while ballistic tests on weaponry found in the Athens and Piraeus hideouts did not identify the arms with past terror attacks.

According to police, ballistics testing was continuing to ascertain link of the weaponry with other criminal acts.

Police officials said at noon Sunday that the ballistics tests have been completed on various weapons found inside a garage in the Athens district of Nea Smyrni, where two suspects were initially apprehended.

Suspicion has focused on the so-called "Revolutionaries' Sect" group, one of a handful of self-styled anti-state urban guerrilla cells that mostly operate in central Athens.

The two suspects, Mitrousias and Sakkas, were carrying a knapsack with weapons when arrested.

Besides the Nea Smyrni (Kessarias street) hideout, another apartment in the port city of Piraeus (Praxitelous street) also yielded a cache of weapons, including handguns and hand grenades.

A third residence in the western Greece city of Agrinio and a fourth hideout discovered later in the Athens district of Kallithea also turned up weapons and printed material.

Specifically, police said they have recovered, from the Athens and Piraeus hideouts, three sub-machineguns (Scorpions), seven automatic handguns (Glock, CZ, Baikal), three assault-style rifles (AK-47s), silencers, ammunition, four hand grenades and up to 50 kilos of ANFO-type explosives along with 200 grams of TNT.

Law enforcement speculation is focusing on whether the armed suspects were preparing a terrorist attack to coincide with the two-year anniversary (Dec. 6) of the shooting death of a teenager in downtown Athens by police, an incident that led to unprecedented urban rioting in the country, much of it fueled by youths linked to anarchist circles.

The apartment in Piraeus had been leased a year ago by two men claiming to be college students from Cyprus, with several months of rent paid in advance.

Police believe the hideouts belong to the Revolutionaries' Sect, which emerged after the riots sparked by the shooting death of 15-year-old pupil Alexis Grigoropoulos during incidents in the Exarchia district of central Athens on December 6, 2008. The group has claimed the killings of investigative journalist Socratis Giolias in July and a counter-terrorism police officer.