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DAY 101: Continuation of cross-examination of witness Sotiris Poulikogiannis

101th Hearing, Court of Appeals, November 10th, 2016

I. Access to the Court

The courtroom remains open to the public upon presentation of a state ID card, which is retained by court authorities for the duration of the session. There was a significant number of spectators, but the hearing lacked the tension of the previous ones. There was only a small reaction towards the end of the session, when applause was heard from the Golden Dawn side of the audience. A significant number of members of the press was present in the courtroom.

II. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the start of the proceedings was only one of the defendants in the PAME case, namely Kastrinos. Thirty-eight (38) of the rest of the defendants were represented by their counsel, while the remaining were recorded as absent.

ΙΙΙ. Proceedings – Examination of Motions

Defense counsel Pantazis requested under article 141, par. 2 of the CCP, to register in the case records a motion that called the civil action counsel Zafiriou to retract her statement “You’re the ones butchering them” or else he would sue for defamation of character. After consulting the District Attorney the court rejected the motion.

ΙV. Continuation of cross-examination of witness Sotiris Poulikogiannis

The testimony of witness and plaintiff Sotiris Poulikogiannis proceeded for the fifth day, with questions from the defense counsels. Defense counsel Pantazis asked about her principals (Boukouras and Alexopoulos) if the witness knows of any criminal offense they might have committed. Poulikogiannis answered that he has seen Boukouras in the media giving orders outside the detention center in Korinthos, where immigrants were scheduled to be transferred, after which followed clashes. Concerning Alexopoulos he mentioned an incident in Larissa in which a homemade bomb exploded, and after a house search the police found Golden Dawn t-shirts. He also stated that since they [her principals] were part of the Golden Dawn’s parliamentary group and had taken control of the local chapters, they must have knowledge of criminal actions.

Responding to questions from defense counsel Gavelas (for Pantazis), the witness said that for the putting up of posters they had brought with them brushes and roll brushes with short handles, that would fit in the cars, and that they could paint the glue at average height, not much higher. He went on to state that at the time of the attack they retreated behind the two cars and that they were trapped. The attackers got out of the alleys and shouted “Where’s Poulikogiannis?”, and so he took two steps forward. When asked why they didn’t just leave, as the attackers told them to, the witness responded that the attackers were talking about the port, not about the scene of the attack, while the defense counsel insisted that other witnesses, such as Goutis, have testified that they refused to leave.

As for the wounds, which the defense counsel labeled “light”, as well as the duration of the attack, he reported that his wound was very serious, and it was by blind chance that the nail at the end of the club didn’t get him. Also, that his comrades fell on top of him to protect him and suffered hits that had been intended for him. According to the witness the time of the attack had been prearranged and it stopped when the signal was given, however he can’t tell exactly how much time elapsed because he was hit and fell down. The defense counsel kept to the defense argument action-reaction-engagement, he asked the witness how he reacted to the attack, but Poulikogiannis answered that he tried to keep his cool and gain some time, since it was possible “that someone would butcher you, as Lagos says”. He repeated that of the 50 or so attackers, about 15 were wearing helmets, and when shown a photograph of the scene of the attack, which he confirmed, he said that the piece of wooden beam that was visible in the photograph could not have been a part of the roll brushes they used for the posters. As for Pantazis the witness said he wasn’t holding anything at the time of the attack, since his was the role of commander.

Defense counsel Dimitrakopoulos limited his questions to PAME and KKE as well as the witness’s own knowledge about Golden Dawn’s basic objectives, however the presiding judge ruled that the aforementioned questions were irrelevant to the case under trial. It was the turn of defense counsel Velentza to question Mr. Poulikogiannis. Concerning the Lagos speech in the cafeteria, the witness said that he didn’t know if it had been organized by the MP’s or by some of the workers. In response to a question about the police arrival at the scene, he reported that the police didn’t arrive immediately, that he was taken away on an ambulance, and that he does not remember whether he spoke to a policeman or not. He also said that more people gathered on the scene of the attack from other groups and about 200 people marched to protest the attack.

In response to a question concerning his reaction to Pantazis, he said that he doesn’t remember answering something, neither did he react when he was shoved, nor did he try to leave, since there was no avenue of escape. He denied quarelling for 10 minutes with the attackers, and he said that it wasn’t out of the question that the phrase “are you leaving nicely or must we fight?”, since many insults were hurled. Concerning his testimony about the Golden Dawn contractors, he said that he was exploring possible motives for the attack against them. Responding to a relevant question he said that he participated in the march that was organized by KKE with the participation of many organizations and parties, which did not pass from the Golden Dawn offices, but from a nearby street, because the offices were guarded by a strong police force, and the protest march was blocked on their side. As for the custom-made club, he said that the union had been notified about the storage room it was found, and it was transferred to the police, since it was connected to the attack. He confirmed his testimony to Mr. Vourliotis, where he mentioned that the perpetrators aimed to cause grievous bodily harm and that he agreed to be examined by a coroner, whose report was then added to the case files via the official channels.  He went on to add that when the separate case files for Golden Dawn were combined, this particular case was ommited, and only after they had sent a press release to parliamentary parties and the ministry, were they called to testify. The presiding judge admonished the defense counsel to limit questioning to the case under trial. Ms. Velentza showed the witness a photograph in which he identified the ambulance, two of his comrades, and the Chief of Police outside the ambulance.

Responding to questions by Oplantzakis, who made a statement under article 141, par. 2, CCP, protesting about the interventions of the civil action counsels during the examination of the witness, Poulikogiannis said that the Perama S/Y depends on the Skaramangas Shipyard, which is closed by order of the EU since 2010. The defense counsel went on to refer to an article by Athinaios P. (dated 09/25/2013) titled “The Secrets of Perama” and asked about the wage situation, and the witness responded that the supervisor chooses the workers, by order of the contractor. He repeated that he identified 3 persons, but not Kastrinos, and that he considers simply absurd the possibility of his own comrades participating in the attack against him. He mentioned once more that he heard the signal “This stinks, we’re leaving” when the attack stopped, and he added that the attackers’ murderous intent was not realized for many reasons, including random factors, since the hit he sustained could have proved fatal. Finally, he pointed out that there was a difference compared to the Fyssas murder: the PAME members had been ambushed, whereas when Fyssas was killed the Golden Dawners had already started leaving. In both instances, though, the attackers went, made their hit, and left. Concerning the statement by the hospital doctor that Roupakias had been trained to kill, and that such a wound could not have been inflicted by chance, he said that the doctor was someone from the surgeons’ team, but that he doesn’t have further information on him.

After a short recess the witness answered to questions by defense counsel Mr. Papadelis. He stated that he is a scaffolding worker, and that he is a member of the Metalworkers Union since 2002. He repeated that he is a member of KKE and that he has participated in safeguarding groups for various party actions. The defense counsel attempted to parallel the KKE interventions with those undertaken by Golden Dawn, but the presiding judge informed him that “when we talk about actions, we mean criminal offences”, which resulted in tension and comments from both sides. Mr. Papadelis went on to exhibit a number of photographs picturing flags with poles, asking who is it that supplies them, and the witness responded that he didn’t know. He was then asked what went on between him and the others, and whether the phrase “take your people and let’s go to a football court to see who’s best.” The witness stated that he can’t say that the aforementioned could be classified as dialogue and that in any case he didn’t hear this phrase. Concerning the photographs shown to him by the police he stated that he was shown photographs of various persons, but that he identified Pantazis and Chatzidakis, and that he went for a second time in another building in Kavalas Avenue, where he was shown more photos.

Concerning the medical certificate provided to him by the Thriasio hospital he said that he read it, and he answered that “he didn’t fully understand what was written, but he fully understood the club hitting his head and what could have been the outcome.” The defense counsel then derided the witness by saying “That’s why I asked you how many years it is since you’re a member, it’s clear by your answers”, and when he read the medical statement he asked the witness, amid protests by the civil action side for violation of the principle of the equality of arms, “What is gc15?” However, the presiding judge did not allow the question. Concerning the incident he recounted to Mr. Vourliotis regarding the meeting between 3 leading members of Golden Dawn with some contractors in Syggrou he said he recounted it after questioned about the attackers’ motives, and that he was never questioned about the informer. About the meeting at the cafeteria on August 8th, Poulikogiannis stated that they had been informed after the fact from the edited video that was publicized by Golden Dawn.

Responding to the question of whether there’s anything illegal, irregular, or anti-union to the meeting, or if someone was hurt after it took place, the witness responded “We did”, because after the meeting the rumors said we were finished in Perama and then the attack happened. Concerning the self-organizing in Ikonio in 2010 he mentioned that he read in the press that Lagos had gone there and had offered to help. Mr. Papadelis went on to mention a statement by the witness about fascism, that reads “…as our ideological progenitors drove through their hearts the hammer and sickle…” at which point tensions shot high once more, and the presiding judge told the witness not to answer the question about fascism.

In a climate of rising tension and exchanges of insults, Mr. Papadelis asked about the funding the KKE received from the Soviet Union, at which point applause was heard from the Golden Dawn side of the audience, and the court was adjourned for the next day, November 11th, in Korydallos.