Stylianos Pattakos, the last survivor among the strongmen of a 1967 coup that ruled Greece for seven years and oversaw a right-wing regime that was said to have engaged in widespread torture of political prisoners, died Oct. 8. He was 103.
The state-run Athens News Agency announced the death and reported that the cause was a stroke.
Gen. Pattakos, born on the island of Crete on Nov. 8, 1912, was a brigadier general and commander of the armored forces stationed in Athens when he took a decisive part in the April 21, 1967, coup led by Col. George Papadopoulos.
The junta said its intent was to stave off a takeover by communists and, despite reports of human rights abuses against opponents, the government continued to obtain aid and diplomatic support from the United States and other NATO allies.
Gen. Pattakos served as interior minister and, from 1971, as first deputy prime minister. He was shunted aside in October 1973 by Papadopoulos, who was trying to liberalize the regime, only to be overthrown a month later by military hard-liners.
Democracy was restored in 1974 following student demonstrations, economic turbulence and increasingly fractured relations among junta leaders. Gen. Pattakos was arrested and, alongside Papadopoulos and Col. Nikolaos Makarezos, sentenced to death in 1975 for his role in the coup. All three had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.
Gen. Pattakos and Makarezos were discharged in 1990 for health reasons. Makarezos died in 2009. Papadopoulos, who refused to ask for a discharge, died in prison in 1999.
In his later years, Gen. Pattakos enjoyed a certain fame as an occasional guest on TV shows hosted by admirers and a publisher of several volumes. He remained unrepentant about his actions, insisting the coup saved Greece from the threat of a communist dictatorship.
The extreme right-wing party Golden Dawn announced his death on its website, saying “the hero Stylianos Pattakos is gone.” He was not a party member.
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