July 28, 1975

28 July 1975: The men who formed a clandestine army junta that orchestrated the 21 April 1967 military coup d'etat grimly face charges of high treason at a special tribunal of appeal court judges chaired by high court magistrate Ioannis Deyiannis. The trial lasted less than a month and focused only on the defendants'role in the overthrow of democratic institutions rather than their participation in the preparations for the coup and the day-to-day running of the seven-year military dictatorship headed by a 'troika' of colonels- George Papadopoulos (seated first row, 2nd from L), Nicholas Makareios (seated first row, 3rd from L) and brigadier

Stylianos Pattakos (seated first row, 4th from L). Before charges were formally filed against them, the Supreme Court ruled that the crimes of the accused officers were 'momentary' rather than 'continuous' -effectively absolving all 'accomplices' or collaborators of the military regime and ruling out any judicial probe into the events which preceded or followed the April 1967 coup d'etat. The three ringleaders were initially condemned to death on 23 August 1975, but their sentences were later changed to life imprisonment. Demetrios Ioannides (2nd row, 1st from L), the former head of the notorious military police (ESA), also received a life sentence. He overthrew Papadopoulos after the bloody suppression of the Polytechnic students' revolt on 17 November 1973 and organised the coup against President Makarios in Cyprus which led to the Turkish invasion of the island on 20 July 1974. Ioannides is the only junta strongman still serving his term at Korydallos high-security prison.

Dimitris Yannopoulos

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(Posting date 2 August 2006 )

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