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27 December, 1999
An Athens court on Saturday sentenced suspected terrorist Avraam Lesperoglou, one of the most wanted men in Greece, to a three-and-a-half years term in prison for using a forged passport and entering the country illegally.
Lesperoglou, 44, a suspected member of the Anti-State Struggle terrorist organization, was arrested by security police on Thursday evening, shortly after landing at Athens Airport on an Air France flight from Amsterdam via Paris on a forged passport. Police said on Friday Lesperoglou arrived with a passport under the name "Emmanuil Britzolakis, 36, from Iraklion, Crete, and resident of Athens". He has been on the run since 1982, and wanted for six murders.
Police said the detainee also carried an identity card and electoral booklet in the same assumed name. Police searching his luggage found four seals of the Kypseli police station and the Tax Bureau's Athens branch, as well as other incriminating objects, which they did not disclose.
The detainee insisted that he was Britzolakis, but police identified him by his fingerprints, which matched those of Lesperoglou on file.
A police source told ANA that Lesperoglou, who is allegedly a member of the "Anti-State Struggle" terrorist organization, has three outstanding warrants for his arrest.
The first concerns the attempted killing of police officer George Psaroudakis on April 24, 1982 in the central Athens district of Exarchia, when Lesperoglou and accomplices allegedly tried to break into a lawyer's office, shooting and injuring Psaroudakis.
The second warrant is for the murder of Athens public prosecutor George Theophanopoulos on April 1, 1985 outside the deceased's home in Kallithea by Anti-State Struggle members, the killing of two guards in a May 6, 1985 armed robbery of a van delivering money to the Sklavenitis supermarket in the Athens district of Galatsi, in which the perpetrators got away with 6.5 million dr., and the May 15, 1985 shoot-out with police in Gyzi in which the organization's suspected founder Christos Tsoutsouvis and three policemen were killed. The third warrant was issued on April 24, 1986 by the Standing Military Court of Ioannina for draft evasion.
Charges were drawn up against Lesperoglou for forgery, and he was arraigned before an investigating magistrate on Friday.
Lesperoglou is believed to be the closest associate of convicted terrorist and Anti-State Struggle member, George Balafas.
In November 1986, police discovered an arms cache in which they found Balafas' fingerprints on the keys of a car allegedly used by the elusive terrorist group "November 17" in three murders, including that of CIA Station Chief Richard Welch in Athens in December 1975. Police believe that Balafas is also linked with Kyriakos Mazokopos, who has been sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for transporting, possessing and concealing weapons, ammunition and explosives.
Mazokopos was arrested on February 8, 1990 after a homemade bomb exploded in his hands in a rented storehouse in the Athens district of Exarchia, resulting in the loss of his right eye and right hand.
According to a police announcement in November the same year, Balafas' fingerprints were found in the storehouse and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Balafas is also suspected of participating in the February 1990 murder of prison psychiatrist Marios Maratos, bomb attacks against banks and the Sklavenitis heist.
Source: Athens News Agency