Greek Terror Suspects Vanish in Middle of Trial

Two suspected members of a Greek domestic terrorist group have gone missing in the middle of their trial, officials said Thursday, prompting orders for a judicial investigation and the suspension of an Athens police official.

Nikos Maziotis and his wife, Panagiota Roupa, have been on trial since October along with six other people as alleged members of Revolutionary Struggle, a group best known for firing a rocket-propelled grenade into the U.S. Embassy in Athens in 2007.

The group, which first appeared in 2003, has claimed responsibility for numerous bomb attacks in Athens, including against the Athens Stock Exchange, as well as for planting a massive bomb that failed to explode outside Citibank offices. It also claimed responsibility for a shooting that severely wounded a riot policeman in 2009.

The couple — who have admitted they are members of the group — were arrested in April 2010 but were released from jail in October last year after spending the maximum 18 months in pre-trail detention, a time during which they had claimed to be political prisoners. They had been ordered to appear at a police station in the central Athens area of Exarchia three times a month, but authorities said Thursday they had missed their last two appointments, one on June 15 and one on July 1.

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident, while the head of the Exarchia precinct was suspended, police said in a statement. The Exarchia precinct had failed to notify superiors that the two had not shown up.

However, because they have already served the maximum time allowed for pre-trial detention, they would not be detained now if they were found, so no arrest warrant was immediately issued.

Maziotis, a self-described anarchist, previously served time in jail for planting a small bomb, which did not explode, outside a ministry building in 1997.


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