Former Greek dictator Dimitris Ioannidis died on Monday from lung disease at the age of 87. Ioannidis was one of the historic leaders of a 1967-1974 military junta. Last night he was transferred to a hospital from prison, where he had been serving a life sentence. He was been found guilty of high treason in 1975. He had spent the past 35 years in a special wing of the maximum security Korydallos prison, which was built during the military regime.
As head of the military police Ioannidis was a key figure in the military dictatorship that seized power on April 21, 1967, after years of political instability. As the junta’s military police chief Ioannidis was one of those responsible for a bloody crackdown against the students’ uprising at The Athens Polytechnic University in 1973. Although Ioannidis appointed a military president and a civilian prime minister, he was the real man in control and became known as the “invisible dictator.” Ioannidis was also behind a coup that overthrew Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios in 1974, triggering a Turkish intervention and the division of the island. Ioannidis was handed a death sentence for high treason in 1975 which was later reduced to life imprisonment.
The coup leaders were tried in 1975 and jailed in Korydallos. Papadopoulos died in 1999 at the age of 80. The only surviving senior junta figure is Brig. Stylianos Pattakos, who has been freed from jail. In 2008 authorities rejected an application by Ioannidis for temporary release from prison on health grounds. No funeral arrangements for Ioannidis have been announced.