Nikolaos Dertilis, an officer of the Junta that ruled Greece from 1967-74, and the only one still in jail, has died at 94 without showing any remorse for the actions of the military dictators who imprisoned and tortured fellow Greeks.
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 on Jan. 27, 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 beaten by military police.
After the restoration of democracy, Dertilis was sentenced to life in prison for the execution of 20-year-old Myrogianni Michali, who had taken part in a Nov. 18, 1973 uprising led by students. Dertilis never repented for his acts and refused to request clemency — even to attend his son’s funeral last year.
He was a hero to the neo-Nazi Golden party that liked the Junta’s tactics and now has 18 seats in Parliament and is rising in power on the back of an anti-immigrant, nationalistic platform. The party 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 in praise of him.