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Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 02:22 GMT
Cook appeals to find brigadier's killers
The brigadier's car
Anti-Western group November 17 claimed responsibility
UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has appeared on the Greek equivalent of the Crimewatch UK programme to appeal for information about the murder of a British diplomat in Athens.

The British Embassy's military attaché, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, was gunned down five months ago by assassins from the left-wing November 17 group.

We cannot guarantee total security for our diplomats

Robin Cook
Britain has loaned Greece a team of Scotland Yard detectives to help investigate the killing, which happened while the diplomat was travelling to work on 8 June.

The foreign secretary, who is on a two-day working visit to Athens, was also due to discuss terrorism and regional issues with Premier Costas Simitis and Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisohoidis.

Widow's appeal

The crime detection programme Fakeli, broadcast on Greece's Mega channel, also included an interview with Brig Saunders' widow, Heather.

Greek viewers were shown a reconstruction of the attack, when two men drew alongside the diplomat's car which had stopped in heavy traffic.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
Cook is on a two-day visit to Athens
He was shot with November 17's trademark 45-calibre handgun.

The urban guerrilla group has murdered 22 people since it first formed in 1975, but none of the group's members has ever been arrested.

It espouses an extreme left wing ideology and its targets have included US diplomats, CIA staff and Nato military officials.

In his interview, Mr Cook denied security for the brigadier had been lax.

He said: "We cannot guarantee total security for our diplomats, after all they are here to work with the local people, to meet the local people, to go out and move in the traffic like others and meet others."

He asked anyone who saw anything suspicious on the day of the killing, or in the days leading up to it, to provide information.

'Human tragedy'

"The murder of Stephen Saunders was a human tragedy and it has left his widow heartbroken, it has left two young girls without a father," he said.

Brigadier Stephen Saunders
Brigadier Saunders was shot four times
"It is very important that we provide his family with at least the peace of knowing that justice was done, but to do that we need the help of the public."

The brigadier's widow spoke movingly on the programme about her husband's final moments.

A trained nurse, she said she knew he was dead as soon as she saw him in the hospital, despite the continuing attempts of the emergency room staff to save his life.

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See also:

07 Aug 00 | Europe
Greece to toughen terrorist fight
08 Jun 00 | Europe
Greek shock at killing
10 Jun 00 | Media reports
Greece reacts with anger and shame
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