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DAY 4: ONSLAUGHT AND WITHDRAWAL

4th Hearing, Women’s Prisons, Korydallos, Athens 15/05/2015

I. Access to the courtroom and suitability of the venue: As far as regards the public nature of the trial, the same conditions applied, given this hearing was held in the same (clearly unsuitable) hall of Korydallos prisons as the previous ones, rendering the public’s access to the trial impossible. Moreover, the hall that had previously been made available as a waiting room for court witnesses was today otherwise occupied by the 5th Court of Appeal for Felonies’ trial of the members of the radical anarchist organization “Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei” (“Synomosia Pyrinon tis Fotias”) accused of orchestrating the terrorist “Phoenix Plan.” It is worth noting here that those members of the public interested in following the trial of the “Phoenix Plan” also found their access to the courtroom obstructed by police barriers on Solomou Street, just outside the prisons. The authorities only allowed entry to those with accreditation for the trial of Golden Dawn or to those participating in either of the two trials.

II. The proceedings begin. The hearing opened at 11:30 with the reading out of the list of defendants. Some of the accused appeared at court, while the majority of them preferred to be represented by their counsel; though both he and his counsel were missing, Giorgos Perris was tried as though present, while Antonis Boletis was simply qualified as “pending” by the President, given neither he nor a legal representative have ever appeared at court, nor has his death been confirmed.

III. Exceptional Episodes: When the President was half way through the list of defendants for the Golden Dawn trial, the handcuffed defendants of the “Phoenix Plan” trial were escorted through the corridor just outside the courtroom. As they passed the Golden Dawn courtroom, they broke into chants of “fascists, boneheads, you’re bound for the gallows,” and opened the door onto the audience’s side of the room, throwing two small plastic bottles of water into the courtroom. The bottles fell at the feet of the journalists. The “Phoenix Plan” defendants were immediately pushed back by police officers and taken to the adjacent room to be tried. The phrase “fuck off” came from the direction of the defense counsel and many of the defendants broke out into insults, threats and threatening gestures directed towards the public (witnesses and/or victims, civil parties and journalists), interpreters and civil action counsel. In the chaos that prevailed, defendant Dimitris Koukoutsis stood out, unleashing a series of threats and insults, directing such phrases as “we’ll meet again,” and “we’ll dissolve you like maggots” to the general public, or “you’re time is coming, cunts” to civil counsel, or phrases likely in Arabic addressed to the interpreter. Raising his middle finger at the public, defendant Ioannis Kazatzoglou threatened, “I’ll show you.” Those present in the hall shouted “shame,” “fascists,” “boneheads,” while Pavlos Fyssas’ parents were visibly and deeply offended. The President paused the hearing for a few moments. At the same time, in the adjacent room, those accused of the “Phoenix Plan” announced their refusal to be tried next door to Golden Dawn. The hearing was eventually cut short due to the absence of a lawyer and the court adjourned to 25/05/2015.

IV. Complaints of the defense counsel: After the defendants of the “Phoenix Plan” trial were escorted out of the courtroom area of the prisons and back to their cells, the President picked up where she left off, reading out the remaining names on the list of defendants. Panagiotis Michalolias, a lawyer for the defense, stated on behalf of all of the defense that the trial could not continue in the appointed hall, that in response to the recent episode in the court, the defense counsel would not be fulfilling their duties to their clients for this hearing as a show of protest, and that they would be leaving. He added that the defense counsel would be appealing to the disciplinary bodies of the Bar Association on the issue of civil action counsel, whom then “have the misfortune of having to address as colleagues.”

Aggelos Aggeletos, defense counsel for Eleni Zaroulia, stated that lawyers have been receiving threats and that “the literature of hate” against Golden Dawn provoked the defendants of the adjacent trial to their actions.

The President stated that though security measures were scarce, the proceedings would continue, given the defendants responsible for the commotion had already left the courtroom area of the prisons.

The defense counsel expressed their objection by beginning to exit the courtroom. The Prosecutor said that the departure of the defense counsel constituted an insult to the court.

Andreas Tzelis, civil action counsel representing the Fyssas family, pointed out that the defense counsel did not demonstrate this degree of sensitivity when witnesses for the prosecution had been attacked at the first hearing. The public protested that the defendants and their counsel were trying to impede the proceeding of the trial. Pavlos Fyssas’ parents erupted in shouts, exclaiming that the defendants do not face any danger, that they must be tried, and that the whole state apparatus is protecting these murderers while their child was killed in the presence of policemen who did nothing to protect him.

Due to the departure of the defense counsel, the President interrupted the hearing and the court was adjourned until 04/06/2015, at 10:30 in the same hall.