A Wall Street Journal article points out the prospect of the US-Greek relations being jeopardised with the possible release of terrorist Savvas Xiros, a hit man of the extreme left group “November 17”.
The potential release from prison of a notorious Greek terrorist is drawing protests from the U.S., testing the Greek government’s newly close relations with Washington.
Savvas Xiros, a hit man in the former Greek terrorist group November 17 who is serving five life sentences for multiple murders and other crimes, has applied for early release on health grounds, using a law passed by the governing left-wing Syriza party.
The US has publicly expressed their opposition to such a prospect. Xiros was sentenced for the murder of an American military officer and a US air force serviceman, among others.
The article conveys the negative sentiment of the US government via its Embassy in Athens which made it clear that his release before he had served his full sentence would constitute disrespect to the memories of the dead Americans and their families.
As the article points out, the radical left “November 17” terrorist group, killed 23 people between 1975 and 2000, including five Americans. The piece explains the group got its name when in 1973, the Greek military junta, allied by the US had suppressed a student revolt in Athens with tanks
Later, the US had expressed its regret for the support of the junta, which was overthrown in 1974 in the context of the Cold War geopolitics. However, as the article claims, many in the Radical Left party continued to look suspiciously at US global dominance and sympathise with small violent left-wing groups that were still active in some Greek cities.