Colonel George Papadopoulos, the leader of the right-wing military junta which overthrew the Greek government on April 21 1967 and tortured and jailed thousands of Greeks. After abolishing the monarchy in 1973 he declared himself president of the republic. He never got to serve his eight year term. He was overthrown in November of 1973 by an even further to the right-wing junta led by Major-General Dimitrios Ioannides, chief of the military police following the brutal crackdown on students demonstrating at the Athens Politechnic school. After the fall of the second dictatorship Papadopoulos was tried and found guilty of treason and sentenced to sentenced to death, but the then-ruling conservative government commuted the sentence to life in prison. In 1984 he attempted a political comeback from behind bars as head of the National Political Union Party (EPEN), which won a seat in European elections. He died of cancer at the age of 80 in 1999. Guards at Korydallos Prison where he was held have said Papadopoulos never regretted his role in the coup and insisted to the end that he saved Greece from communism. As the liaison between the KYP (Greek Intelligence) and the US Central Intelligence agency, he was technically the first member of the CIA to be the leader of a European country.
Return to History of Greece Biography