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Gunman Kills Supreme Court Prosecutor, Third Official Shot In Two Weeks

January 23, 1989

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ A gunman on a motorcycle killed a supreme court prosecutor Monday night in the third shooting of a leading court official in two weeks, police said. A left-wing group claimed responsibility.

Anastasios Vernardos, 61, was returning from a nearby cafe he frequented when he was shot twice in the abdomen and three times in the chest outside his central Athens home. The bright green motorcycle carrying two men roared away, a police spokesman said.

Vernardos was pronounced dead on arrival at the Athens Laiko hopital, doctors said.

In a statement found about 30 yards from the scene, the May 1 Revolutionary Organization said it was responsible for the attack, according to the police spokesman, who spoke anonymously in accordance with Greek practice.

It was the second attack claimed by the group since it emerged in 1987, when it shot and wounded Greece’s top labor leader, Giorgos Raftopoulos, head of the General Federation of Greek Workers.

Vernardos was the second of the supreme court’s 10 prosecutors to be shot by terrorist groups in the past two weeks.

A gunman wounded supreme court prosecutor Panayiotis Tarasouleas, 66, on Jan. 18. An assailant shot Athens investigating magistrate Constantinos Androulidakis, 52, on Jan. 10. Both men remain hospitalized in stable condition.

The leftist November 17 terrorist group claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou said the attacks on senior court officials ″aim to intimidate justice.″

Papandreou said he will hold an emergency meeting with the ministers of public order, justice and defense and with senior police officials to discuss the wave of terrorist attacks.

Little is known about the May 1 organization except for its Marxist leanings and dislike of Papandreou’s Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).

November 17 has claimed 12 killings since it first emerged in 1975 with the assassination of Richard Welch, CIA station chief in Greece. Among its victims were two senior U.S. officials, several Greek businessmen, publishers and police officers.

It is named after the day in 1973 when army troops and tanks crushed a student uprising against the 1967-74 military dictatorship.

In proclamations found at the site of its attack on Tarasouleas on Jan. 18, November 17 said it shot the two court officials because of their involvement in the acquittal of two conservative businessmen charged with fraud in the early 1980s.

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