The Greek Junta Trials ((ギリシア語:Οι Δίκες της Χούντας translated as: The Τrials of the Junta)) were the trials involving members of the military junta that ruled Greece from 21 April 1967 to 23 July 1974. These trials involved the instigators of the coup as well as other junta members of various ranks who took part in the events of the Athens Polytechnic uprising and in the torture of citizens.
The military coup leaders were formally arrested during the ''metapolitefsi'' period that followed the junta, and in early August 1975 the government of Konstantinos Karamanlis brought charges of high treason and insurrection against Georgios Papadopoulos and other co-conspirators.〔(The Colonels on Trial ) Time Magazine Retrieved 15 August 2008 Quote: "Last week Papadopoulos himself, after seven months in Korydallos, became the principal defendant in a mass trial at the prison. Along with 19 other former members of the ousted military junta, the ex-dictator was charged with acts of high treason and insurrection that had subjected Greece to 7½ years of dictatorship, from 1967 to 1974." and "Fearful of both right-wing plots to spring the defendants from prison and left-wing assassination attempts, the democratic government of Premier Constantine Caramanlis staged an impressive show of military strength at a trial that had been described as "Greece's Nuremberg."" and "Exasperated, the president of the court, Yiannis Deyannis, who was appointed a high court judge under the junta, yelled, "Let all those who wish to leave—leave!"" also: "Loyal Officials. Kanellopoulos, a highly respected leader of the National Radical Union, told how he had been arrested at machine-gun point by junta soldiers and taken to the monarch in 1967. He urged the King, who was also commander in chief of the armed forces, to order loyal officers to crush the colonels' rebellion. The weak and inexperienced Constantine, then 27, refused, fearing bloodshed. Instead, he swore the colonels into office."〕 The mass trial, described as "Greece's Nuremberg" and known as "The Trial of the Instigators", was staged at the Korydallos Prison amidst heavy security.〔
The principal leaders of the 1967 coup, Georgios Papadopoulos, Stylianos Pattakos and Nikolaos Makarezos, were sentenced to death for high treason, following the trial.〔(Answering to History ) Time magazine Retrieved 18 August 2008 Quote: "Slavishly deferential, Papadopoulos' 19 co-defendants in the trial at Korydallos Prison on the outskirts of Athens referred to him as "Mr. President." When talking to reporters, the squat, jaunty Papadopoulos assured them that he would not be in jail for long. Disdainfully refusing to enter a plea in his defense, he crowed, "I shall answer only to history and the Greek people." To which Court President Ioannis Deyannis replied, his small sharp features pinched in anger, "Do you think history is absent from this courtroom?""〕 Shortly after the sentences were pronounced, they were commuted to life imprisonment by the Karamanlis government.
The trial of the instigators was followed by a second trial which investigated the events surrounding the Athens Polytechnic uprising known as "The Trial of the Polytechnic" and, finally, a series of trials involving incidents of torture known in Greece as "The Trials of the Torturers".〔(Book: The Trials of the Junta, 12 Volumes ) Pericles Rodakis (publisher), The Trials of the Junta: A: The Trial of the Instigators, B: The Trial of the Polytechnic, C: The Trials of the Torturers (Περικλής Ροδάκης (εκδ.), Οι Δίκες της Χούντας: Α: Η Δίκη των Πρωταιτίων, Β: Η Δίκη του Πολυτεχνείου, Γ: Οι Δίκες των Βασανιστών, 12 τόμοι, Αθήνα 1975-1976)〕
Journalist and author Leslie Finer, who was expelled by the junta from Greece in 1968, reporting in 1975 on the trials for ''New Society'' wrote: "The trial of 20 ringleaders of the 1967 coup is a test of democratic justice. Among its other functions, this is a mode of exorcism and education."
== Historical background ==
After the fall of the junta in July 1974, as the country entered the period of the ''metapolitefsi'' and before the legislative elections in November of the same year, the transitional government headed by Konstantinos Karamanlis came under growing criticism from the opposition, including Georgios Mavros, the leader of the Center Union-New Forces (the main opposition party at the time), about being too lenient to the members of the recently deposed military junta.〔(Η ανατολή της Δημοκρατίας ) "The dawn of Democracy" Article quote: "«Εξηφανίσθη ο Ιωαννίδης, εξορία οι πέντε στην Κέα», είναι το πρώτο θέμα του «Βήματος» της 24ης Οκτωβρίου 1974, επειδή την προηγουμένη οι εξελίξεις περί τους πραξικοπηματίες επικάλυψαν την προεκλογική δραστηριότητα των κομμάτων. " Translation: "Ioannidis has disappeared. In exile, the five, to Kea..." To Vima.gr published: 24/10/1999, 00:00, retrieved 12 September 2011〕
Mavros had demanded the arrest of the junta principals as a condition for cleaning up the political life of the country. At the time he declared that as soon as the Parliament was convened after the 1974 elections, he would propose legislation to annul any automatic immunity laws which the junta might have enacted to protect its members.〔
The newspapers further demanded an investigation into the role of Brigadier Ioannidis during the crushing of the Polytechnic uprising, which the press called a "massacre".〔 Ioannidis was the shadowy leader of the junta's final stage who had been described as the ''invisible dictator'' in the press.〔
Karamanlis' government responded to these demands and ordered the junta principals Georgios Papadopoulos, Stylianos Pattakos, Nikolaos Makarezos, Ioannis Ladas and Michael Roufogalis arrested.〔
In addition, Georgios Papadopoulos, Dimitrios Ioannidis, Michael Roufogalis, Nikolaos Dertilis, Vassilios Bouklakos and Elias Tsiaouris or Tsapouris (also Tsiaparas), who were also responsible of the Polytechnic events were prohibited from leaving the country, as rumours were circulating that they were planning to escape abroad.〔
On 24 October 1974, Georgios Papadopoulos, Stylianos Pattakos, Nikolaos Makarezos, Ioannis Ladas and Michael Roufogalis were arrested and charged with conspiring again.〔 Subsequently they were sent to the island of Kea.〔
Ioannidis, was not arrested at that time, with the official explanation that he did not take part in the conspiracy of the Papadopoulos group. However the newspapers, such as ''To Vima'', alleged, citing reliable sources, that Ioannidis had disappeared and could not be found.〔〔
Immediately after the group of five was exiled to Kea, the opposition demanded to know the details of the actions of Papadopoulos and his co-conspirators prior to their arrest, while the government denied rumours of pro-junta manoeuvres among the military.〔
During his stay in Kea, Papadopoulos seemed confident that he and the members of his junta would be granted amnesty and they would eventually run for office and get elected.〔 However, following a three-month stay on the island, in February 1975, Papadopoulos and the other four junta principals were transported by a torpedo boat to the port of Piraeus on their way to Korydallos prison.〔(Revival and Revenge ) Time magazine Retrieved 15 August 2008〕 Ioannidis, having been arrested on 14 January 1975,〔 was already at the jail when Papadopoulos and his cohorts arrived there.〔〔(Ioannidis application )〕
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