Greece: 6 jailed over militant anarchist bombings

AP News
Posted: Jul 19, 2011 2:40 PM
Greece: 6 jailed over militant anarchist bombings

A Greek court on Tuesday found six members of a militant anarchist group guilty of terrorism charges and handed down stiff jail terms for their alleged involvement in a series of bombings targeting two Greek politicians and a ministry building.

The five young men and a woman were found guilty of belonging to the Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire group, and received sentences ranging from 11 to 25 years in prison. No one was injured in the 2009 bombings.

The group has also claimed responsibility for sending mail bombs last year to foreign embassies and European officials, with one parcel reaching the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel before being destroyed.

Judges acquitted another two defendants of all charges, while a ninth suspect was convicted of theft not linked with the group's activities. The sentences followed a six-month trial at a special courthouse in a maximum security Athens jail.

Defense lawyer Spiros Fytrakis said the jail terms were too harsh, arguing that the militants had taken care to ensure nobody was hurt in the attacks.

"It is an exaggeration," he said of the decision. "Undoubtedly wrong."

Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire moved quickly on from small arson attacks in 2008 to powerful bomb blasts outside courthouses, an insurance company and the prison where the trial was held _ gaining international notoriety with the parcel bomb campaign.

Greece has been plagued for decades by far-left militant violence, which police hoped was on the wane after the conviction of several members of the deadly November 17 group, during a security crackdown ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympics. November 17 killed 23 people, including foreign diplomats, from 1975 to 2002.

Attacks spiked again after the fatal police shooting of an Athens teenager in 2008, which triggered riots across the country. Four people have died since in bombings or shootings, followed by the arrests of more than 20 suspected members of Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire and another radical anarchist group, Revolutionary Struggle.