Hunted Greek convict vowing revenge for crisis by video

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 20, 2014 11:08 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) - A convicted member of a Greek guerrilla group that waged a 27 year campaign of killing appeared in a video on Monday promising to avenge the country's debt crisis and calling for a revolution against the state.

Christodoulos Xiros, 56, was serving multiple life terms in Athens for being a member of the dismantled Marxist group November 17, when he was let out for a week over New Year.

However, he never reported back to prison - triggering a massive police hunt and acute embarrassment for the authorities.

A video uploaded on the leftist Indymedia website on Monday showed Xiros speaking to the camera with pictures of revolutionary Che Guevara, two Greek independence fighters, and a Communist World War Two resistance leader.

"It is our job to light the fuse," he said calling on leftists and anarchists to unite against politicians, journalists and police.

"What are we waiting for? If we don't react immediately, now, today, we will cease to exist as people."

The Greek debt crisis plunged the country into a six year-recession, forcing thousands of businesses to close and making one in five of the workers jobless.

November 17, Greece's most lethal guerrilla group, was named after the date of a crushed 1973 student uprising against the then-ruling military junta, was dismantled in 2002 after a bomb exploded in the hands of Xiros's brother Savas.

More than 10 members of the group were convicted for 23 killings - including of Greek, U.S. and British businessmen, politicians and diplomats - and dozens of bomb attacks spanning three decades.

Greece has a history of leftist violence. In recent years, a number of previously unknown far-left and anarchist groups have claimed a series of small-scale bomb attacks against police, politicians and businessmen in retaliation for austerity measures.

In a separate written statement uploaded on Indymedia, Xiros said that convincing prison authorities to give him leave was "a personal success" and warned he would "wield my rifle again".

"Your kingdom is over but you don't know it," he said.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Alison Williams)