State Department Report Criticizes Greece over Terrorist’s Prison Leave

The 48-hour prison leave to terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas and the outdated and vulnerable to forgery Greek ID cards are criticized in the latest U.S. State Department report on terrorism in Greece.

According to the Athens – Macedonian News Agency (AMNA), the annual report for 2017 that was released on Wednesday notes the close cooperation between Greece and the United States in fighting terrorism and mentions the high-profile arrests of terrorists taking place in 2017.

However it questions the 48-hour prison leave granted to terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas, despite U.S. government objections.

“Over the objections of the U.S. government, the prison council of Greece’s high-security prison for the first time granted convicted terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas a two-day furlough November 9-11. Koufontinas is serving 11 life sentences plus 25 years for the murder of 11 people and his leadership role in the terrorist group November 17 that targeted and assassinated members of the U.S. Mission to Greece, as well as British and Turkish diplomats, Greek politicians, and Greek citizens,” the report says.

Regarding Greece’s border control, the report mentions that terrorists who passed to Europe through Greece as refugees were involved in terrorist attacks in Europe. It also says that several suspected terrorists tried to fly out of Greece on forged Greek documents and criticizes Greece’s lack of a more efficient ID system:

“Greece’s national identification card remained extremely vulnerable to alteration and photo substitution; it has not incorporated certain security features, such as a digitized photo and biometrics. To mitigate this vulnerability, in 2015 police authorities instituted a system for conducting electronic checks of civil registries and national databases to confirm documents submitted as part of the application for identification cards and passports. The Greek government has committed to address this vulnerability through the introduction of a biometric national identification card,” the report further says.

Overall, the report says, “the Greek government remained a cooperative counterterrorism partner in 2017, increasing information sharing under auspices of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program and other bilateral agreements”.