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Most Wanted Suspect in Greece Surrenders

September 06, 2002|From Reuters

ATHENS — A man known as "Poison Hand," the suspected top assassin of Greece's November 17 urban guerrilla group, turned himself in to police Thursday after weeks on the run.

The surrender of Dimitris Koufodinas, 45, Greece's most wanted man, marked the capture of the last major suspect sought in breaking up the radical leftist band that since 1975 has killed 23 people, including British, American and Turkish diplomats.

The semiofficial Athens News Agency said Koufodinas was indirectly in touch with police for several days before he turned himself in. Police said some people indirectly connected to November 17 may still be at large, but Koufodinas' detention marked the breakup of the group's hard-core followers.

Koufodinas, an amateur beekeeper known as "Poison Hand" because of his deadly accuracy with a gun, has been described by November 17 suspects as their "hit man organizer."

They said he and others he selected from the group carried out killings; he also helped to plan shootings, bombings and robberies.

Another November 17 suspect already in custody has said Koufodinas helped him kill British defense attache Brig. Stephen Saunders in downtown Athens in June 2000. Saunders' slaying was the last killing blamed on the group.

Since June, police have arrested and charged 15 suspected members of November 17.

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