Heavy sentences imposed on Greek far-left militants

A Greek court on Wednesday imposed heavy sentences on three leading members of a far-left extremist group best known for carrying out a rocket attack against the US embassy in Athens six years ago.

Nikos Maziotis, his wife Panagiota Roupa and Costas Gournas of the group Revolutionary Struggle were each sentenced to 50 years but are to serve 25 years, a justice source said.

Maziotis and Roupa disappeared in June 2012 and were sentenced in absentia by the special court that met in the high-security Korydallos prison.

The pair were supposed to report to an Athens police station every two weeks after their release from Korydallos prison in 2011 when a 18-month maximum pre-trial detention period expired.

Two other members of the group were also given sentences of up to 7.5 years on Wednesday while two others were acquitted on reasonable doubt.

Revolutionary Struggle, which appeared in 2003, was deemed by authorities to be the country's most dangerous far-left organisation and is on European Union and US lists of terrorist groups.

The United States put a bounty on the group after it fired a rocket at the US embassy in Athens in 2007 without injuring anyone. Other strikes include a bombing attack on the Athens Stock Exchange and several banks, and attempted hits against police and a former police minister.

The group was apprehended after one of its suspected members was killed in a shootout with police in 2010.

Revolutionary Struggle is considered the successor of November 17, the extremist organisation that killed 23 people between 1975 and 2000 before its demise in 2002.