ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek fugitive who vanished on furlough from prison while serving six life sentences for left-wing bombings and shootings has vowed a return to armed action.
Christodoulos Xiros, 55, was convicted in 2003, along with two of his brothers, of belonging to the November 17 organization. The group emerged in the mid-1970s and claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks against foreign diplomats and Greek politicians and businessmen over nearly three decades.
He vanished Jan. 7 while on a seven-day leave from prison to visit his family.
In a video posted Monday on the Internet, Xiros read a seven-page statement. It was accompanied by an apparently recent photo of him in front of pictures 19th-century Greek resistance fighters and Latin American rebel Che Guevara. A text version of the statement was included in the posting.
"I once again decided to make the guerrilla rifle thunder against those who stole our lives and sold our dreams to make a profit," Xiros says in the statement, which rails against how Greece's financial crisis was handled.
He criticizes the media, the judiciary, the police and the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party, and invites Greece's security forces to join with him. The statement reserves particular bile for the two parties in Greece's governing coalition, the conservative New Democracy and the socialist Pasok, accusing them of treason and stating that the "price of their treason is death."
In extensive references to the financial crisis, he claims that Greece and other European countries have become colonies under "German occupation." Germany is the single largest contributor toward international rescue loans that Greece has been relying on for years.
"If we ever meet again, which I don't hope (and neither should you) you will do well to kill me. Because if you take me captive again, I will leave again to fight you to the end," Xiros said in the statement.
November 17, which mixed Marxist ideology with nationalism, killed 23 people — including British, American and Turkish diplomats and military officials — before being broken up after a string of arrests in 2002.