ATHENS-A Greek magistrate freed on Saturday a man arrested last week as a suspected member of the urban guerrilla group November 17, which had been seen as a major security threat to the 2004 Athens Olympics. A police spokesman said that a court of appeal magistrate unconditionally freed Kostas Avramidis, a 42-year-old civil engineer, who was arrested outside his Athens home on Thursday.
He denied belonging to the outlawed group, 19 of whose suspected members have been arrested in the last year — apparently ending a 27-year campaign by the leftist radical group during which Greece failed to catch a single suspect.
November 17 is blamed for 23 murders, of British, U.S. and Turkish diplomats as well as prominent Greek businessmen and politicians. Avramidis was arrested after his fingerprints matched those on a book at one of the group’s two weapons dens raided last year. No reason was given for his release.
The police breakthrough against the group came after a botched bomb blast at the port of Piraeus last June led to the first capture of an alleged group member.
The trial of the 19 other detained suspects, most of whom deny involvement with the group, started in March in a high-security prison wing in Athens and is expected to last for months.