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Convicted Greek terrorist ends 66-day hunger strike

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Leftist Greek militant Dimitiris Koufodinas is ending a 66-day hunger strike that he began as part of a demand for a prison transfer, his lawyer said on Sunday.

“He chooses life,” Ioanna Kourtovik said to Reuters news agency.

Koufodinas, 63, is being treated in an intensive care in hospital near the Domokos high-security prison in central Greece after suffering kidney failure last week.

Koufodinas was nicknamed “Poison Hand” for the murders he committed as part of the now dismantled November 17 group.

He is serving 11 consecutive life sentences plus 25 years for his murders, which he has never denied.

He had been wanting to be transferred to the Korydallos prison in Athens.

Killing campaign

November 17, named after the date of a student uprising in 1973 against the junta that was then in power in Greece, carried out numerous assassinations for three decades before its leaders were arrested in 2002.

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The killings targeted US military personnel and foreign diplomats, along with Greek politicians and industrialists.

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Among those killed was current Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsokakis’ brother-in-law, Pavlos Bakoyiannis, who died at the hand of Koufodinas and another man in September 1989.

Angry statement

In a statement on Sunday, Koufodinas launched a veiled attack on Mitsotakis, who comes from a political background, slamming the “governing family that has shown how ruthless it is in debasing the laws and the constitution.”

The attack is likely a reaction to the fact that Mitsotakis’ conservative government has repealed legislation by the previous leftist administration that allowed Koufodinas to serve his term at a minimum-security prison.

In November 2017, there was widespread outrage in Greece and abroad after Koufodinas was given two days’ leave from prison under the more lenient conditions.

A number of protests have been held by sympathizers and civil rights activists in recent weeks accusing the government of unnecessarily harsh treatment of Koufodinas. Some supporters have even carried out arson and vandalism attacks in recent days.

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