17N was responsible for several murders of prominent Greek and foreign politicians, journalists, diplomats and businessmen. Giotopoulos was identified as its leader after the apprehension and confession of Savvas Xiros, another member of 17N, following a failed bombing attempt on a Flying Dolphin company in Piraeus.
Giotopoulos refused the charges against him, and described himself as the victim of "an Anglo-American conspiracy". At the start of his appeal, in 2005, he received support from left-wing organisations and personalities in France, including Alain Krivine and Pierre Vidal-Naquet. However, on May 3, 2007, his conviction and those of his 17N accomplices were sustained by the court of appeals.
Alexander Giotopoulos was a prominent opponent of the Greek military junta of 1967-1974. He is the son of Demetris Giotopoulos, once a secretary of Leon Trotsky, also known as Witte, who was a leader of the Greek Trotskyist party of archeiomarxists.