A misdemeanors court in Thessaloniki on Monday gave a 49-year-old French national a 15-year suspended sentence for damaging private property, attempted bodily harm and defiance against police following a car crash with police officers.
The man was under police surveillance as a possible terror suspect due to his travel documents which showed he had recently travelled to Iraq, Iran and Yemen. He was arrested after he crashed with his car into the police vehicle that was following him.
"He was placed under surveillance during his stay in Greece. Although he said he would travel directly to France, he deviated from his path and stayed for two days in New Kerdyllia of Serres", the policeman told court.
Describing the arrest at the border between the prefectures of Thessaloniki and Serres, the policeman said the suspect turn on the head lights and sped towards their car. "He collided head-on with our vehicle. He then jumped on the hood and shouted incessantly. He shouted ‘police!’" he said.
The French man only stopped when the policeman showed him his gun. He then kneeled and shouted "Allahu akbar".
During the trial, it was revealed that the man entered Greece from Turkey at the Kipi border crossing in Evros a few days ago. During his testimony, the suspect said he spent three months in Turkey and was supposed to return to his country through Italy. At the Greek border, he was detained for two days and had his car searched. He was released after he was cleared by French authorities.
He justified his actions by saying he thought the police officers were criminals following him. "They were dressed like crooks and I thought they would hurt me", he told court. He appealed the ruling and was released. He’s expected to be deported.