A convicted terrorist was given a 48-hour holiday from jail in Greece despite being “unrepentant” over his crimes.
Dimitris Koufodinas, 60, returned to Korydallos prison in Athens on Sunday morning from his two-day break as part of the country’s furlough (leave of absence) programme.
It’s the second time he has been allowed a holiday from his sentence. During each one, he must report to police twice a day.
The decision to allow Koufodinas to leave prison has been criticised by Britain and America.
Kate Smith, the UK ambassador to Greece, tweeted: “It is extremely disheartening to see an unrepentant convicted terrorist get out of jail like this. We respect the independence of Greek justice, but once again the memory of victims of terrorism and the feelings of their families are cruelly violated.”
When he was released for a similar break in November last year, the US state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “Convicted terrorists do not deserve a vacation from prison.”
Koufodinas was a member of the guerrilla group November 17 (17N), which is believed to have disbanded after many of its members were arrested before the 2004 Olympics.
He is serving 11 life terms plus 25 years for his role in assassinations of prominent people including US, British and Turkish diplomat and military personnel. The group carried out 103 attacks and killed 23 people.
He acknowledged his crimes but never repented for them.
In January 2014, one prisoner, also a 17N member, who was sent on temporary release failed to report back and a reward was offered for his return.
In 2003, 23 of the prisoners granted furlough failed to return at all, and three of them died while on furlough, according to a report released in 2016.
There are three types of leave given to prisoners who apply for furlough in Greece.
Prisoners can get home leave, which allows them out for one to five days at a time, or up to eight days if they have served two-fifths of their sentence, or 12 years for life sentences.
The annual total cannot be more than 40 days.
There are two other types of furlough to grant prisoners time out of jail, for either exceptional family circumstances or to attend educational courses.
Prisoners must apply for furlough, before social workers assess the application and offer their verdict on suitability based on custodial behaviour, home circumstances and previous responses to leave.
Greece passed a law allowing furlough from prison in the 1960s but it wasn’t implemented until 1990.