Athens, Greece: Conviction of anarchist communist Tasos Theofilou

On February 7th, 2014 anarchist communist Tasos Theofilou was sentenced to 25 years in prison, although he has denied all charges from the start. A three-member bench reached a majority opinion (instead of a unanimous verdict) at the trial court in Athens.

Tasos Theofilou was acquitted of severe charges in relation to “formation of and membership in a terrorist organization” (i.e. his alleged involvement in the urban guerrilla group Conspiracy of Cells of Fire), as well as possession of explosives and ordnance (these charges were also dropped, since the judges ruled that he was never a member of the CCF), forgery of five identification cards, use of a firearm, and two attempted homicides.

However he was found guilty of two felony charges: participating in a robbery with his physical characteristics covered, and being an abettor in manslaughter committed in a calm mental state. He was also convicted of three misdemeanors: carrying a firearm, repeatedly forging (accusation relating to vehicles of the robbers), and accepting proceeds of crime (the getaway car of the robbers).

In other words, the court decided that supposedly Theofilou (without being a member of the CCF or another organization) participated in the bank robbery on Paros Island in August 2012, but he was not the one who killed Dimitris Michas (the citizen who attempted to prevent the robbers’ escape). According to one of his defense lawyers, this is a decision taken on the basis of one and only indication (a controversial DNA sample on a hat which one of the robbers allegedly dropped). At least the imposition of life imprisonment was prevented, as he was not convicted of intentional manslaughter…

Many facts of the case and evidence presented to the court argued in favor of his acquittal (e.g. none of the eyewitnesses recognized Theofilou during the trial). Nevertheless, as had happened in the case of anarchist prisoner Babis Tsilianidis, also in this proceeding the defendant was adjudged to be guilty solely on the basis of DNA, which was allegedly found on a mobile object.

The court of first instance imposed: 16 years for abetting manslaughter, 15 years for committing robbery, 3 years for committing forgery, 2 years for carrying a firearm (plus a fine of 5,000 euros), and 2 years for accepting proceeds of crime; total: 38 years. The aggregate sentence is 25 years in prison. The comrade has the right to appeal against his conviction, but the appeal has no suspensive effect; that is, he must remain in prison until his next trial in the court of appeals (but in the meantime he can request that his prison sentence be suspended).