ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Nikolaos Dertilis, the last jailed member of the military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967-74, has died. He was 94.
Dertilis had been transferred in December from the maximum security Korydallos Prison, where he had spent the past 38 years, to Athens' Erythros Stavros Hospital with heart problems after suffering a stroke. He died Monday, the hospital said.
As a colonel, Dertilis was among a group of middle-ranking officers who seized power in a bloodless coup on April 21 1967. The dictators imposed martial law and cracked down heavily on political opponents, imprisoning or exiling thousands of mostly left-wing supporters, many of whom were tortured by military police.
After the restoration of democracy, Dertilis was sentenced to life in prison for the execution of a youth during the bloody suppression of a student uprising in 1973. He never repented for his acts and refused to request clemency — even to attend his son's funeral last year.
The country's extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party, which rose from the political fringes to enter Parliament last year, issued a statement saluting Dertilis as "an exceptional Greek and a soldier who shed his blood for his country on the battlefields."
"(Dertilis) died without signing a declaration of repentance to his jailers, and fully honoring his word — that they could nail his jail release papers to his coffin," the party statement said.