Convicted "N17" assassin Dimitris Koufodinas again exited a Greek prison on Friday morning with a two-day furlough unanimously granted by a judicial council, sparking reactions by the families of victims and by US and British officials.
The development marks the second time within the last three months that the erstwhile beekeeper and notorious urban terrorist has left the greater Athens area's Korydallos penitentiary, having served roughly 15 years for 16 murder convictions and other terrorism-related charges. He is obliged to return to the same prison, southwest of downtown Athens, on Sunday morning.
He is required to stay at his two-storey residence in the township of Varnavas, north of Athens proper, and prohibited from leaving the specific municipality, while also appearing twice daily at the local police precinct. His first furlough was granted some two months ago.
In her reaction, former Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, who husband, politician Pavlos Bakoyannis, was gunned down by "N17" assassins, including Koufodinas, in 1989, referred to an "egregious insult".
"... no matter how many times he is freed, Greek society and public sentiment will continue to be insulted. The families of the victims will never forget, and we know we are not alone," Bakoyannis Tweeted.
Meanwhile, in a statement read out during a regular press briefing on Thursday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert noted that "...I’d like to start out with some news that has come out of Greece today, and I’d like to say that we want to condemn the release of a convicted terrorist.
"His name is Dimitris Koufodinas. He was released on a two-day furlough from a Greek prison. He is a convicted terrorist. He is responsible for killing 11 civilians – some British, U.S., and also Turkish embassy staff who had worked for the United States, and obviously the UK and Turkey. They released him on a two-day furlough. They did that just three months ago as well. We fundamentally believe that convicted terrorists do not deserve a vacation from prison. Our embassy in Athens has conveyed our serious concerns about the decision to the Greek Government."
On her Twitter account, Britain's ambassador to Greece, Kate Smith, wrote, in Greek: "... It's extremely disheartening to see an unrepentant and convicted terrorist again leaving prison."
Sharp reactions have greeted the current leftist-rightist coalition government's liberalization of the furlough and parole rules in the country since assuming power in January 2015, with the Tsipras government saying it aims to reduce prison overcrowding.