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DAY 65: EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES AND TRANSFER OF THE TRIAL TO THE COURT OF APPEALS

65th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, June 9th, 2016

1. 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 weren’t many spectators at this hearing, apart from members of the press and the Fyssas family.

2. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the start of the proceedings was defendant Agiovlasitis. Thirty-two (32) defendants were recorded as absent, while the rest were represented by their counsels.

3. Proceedings

The microphones and air-conditioning in the courtroom weren’t working at the start of the proceedings. During the defendants’ call, Pavlos Fyssas’ father protested defendant Roupakias’ absence by saying: “He’s busy eating the eggs his wifey made him, that’s why he’s not here”.

Defense counsel Mavroeidis (for Aggos) stated that his client could not attend court, and a new counsel was appointed for Aggos by the court, Ioannis Meidanis. In the meantime, defendant Korkovilis entered the courtroom. The presiding judge informed the audience and the trial’s various parties that she has applied to the Chief of the Court of Appeals, to transfer the location of the trial to the Court of Appeals, an application which was accepted, and use of the ceremony hall of the Athens Court of Appeals was approved for the continuation of the trial. Defense counsel Michalolias expressed his wish that the peaceful exercise of their duties be secured.

4. Continuation of testimony of witness Andreas Biagis, a DIAS police officer

Responding to questions by the presiding judge the witness stated that he has been called to other incidents involving Golden Dawn, merely on supervision duty, and to relay what was happening to HQ, and that only in the case of Perama and PAME, did HQ inform them that there had been an incident and warned them to be careful.

Responding to questions by the state prosecutor the witness stated that the people he saw at the intersection were standing in the middle of the street, as if they had just gotten off their bikes. There wasn’t anyone giving orders, all of them were talking together and suddenly a number of people left the group without an order, they just left, but they knew where they were going. That the order to the DIAS policemen was to not intervene, but to relay what was happening on the ground, his colleagues pulled the victim away, but they couldn’t do anything more, they couldn’t have gone in an alley, 4-5 officers were obliged to stay at the scene and one officer couldn’t go in and chase 4-5 persons in the side street without knowing what was the situation in the next streets. They went near, they said they were police officers, Roupakias went towards his car, and only Pavlos was left at the scene. Responding to a question by the state prosecutor concerning who it was that arrested Roupakias, the witness answered that it was Rotas and Tsolakidis, they went there, they searched him and handcuffed him, he saw them take him out of the car, wrote down his name and probably transferred custody of Roupakias to the crew of the patrol car. The witness said that he has not received threats concerning his testimony. He also mentioned that in Tsaldaris there were other people present and he saw them beating the younger and taller of the Fyssas group, as if they were trying to distract him, but he could only identify the murderer. He was afraid that Golden Dawners would creep up from behind and take his weapon. He stated that he’s always afraid, but he said that he wouldn’t be that scared if it was a peaceful demonstration, he was scared because the Golden Dawners weren’t cooperating, did not obey orders.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Tzelis he said that they received the signal at 23:59, that he didn’t speak to anyone else about the time, that he heard the signal himself, as well as the signals by Tsolakidis, who said that there had been a misunderstanding between Golden Dawn and some members of a known political group, and then the man that approached them told them it was anarchists. He didn’t remember seeing any brass knuckles nor clubs, they went directly to Tsaldari without making any detours, stated that at some point Koliousis arrived on the scene, and that he was a bit to the rear because of his weapon. They didn’t take their motorbikes, because they started pursuing the people, he was wearing the helmet for protection, since he didn’t know what he would face and there was information about clubs and bats. When he turned into Tsaldari he saw the people harassing Fyssas and Roupakias’ car nearby.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Kougiatsou the witness repeated that there was no discussion about the time the signal was sent, that Tsolakidis said that he had seen brass knuckles, that he didn’t remember anyone mentioning wooden clubs, that the policemen were in pursuit, that Rotas and Tsolakidis searched Roupakias, that he didn’t understand what happened because he was attending to Pavlos.

After a short recess civil action counsel Papadopoulou submitted a request by the Fyssas family for all 18 defendants that are in any way involved in the Fyssas murder to personally appear in court, since eyewitnesses are expected to testify. At this point the state prosecutor reserved her judgment and proceeded with the examination of the witness.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Papadopoulou the witness said that he didn’t give his name to the officer on duty at the Keratsini Police Station, a report was compiled that was delivered to the secretary of the DIAS squad. They immediately went in pursuit of the people and reached the scene of the murder in 3 minutes, and said that the distance is about 100-120 m. That he knew right away that the persons that were running were Golden Dawners, if they were from a different political group they would have attacked the policemen. There were many people in Tsaldari Street, but not the same persons that were in P. Mela Street, that day there was a major soccer event, there was a commotion, and when he got near he saw that a fight had broken out. He stated that there was no way that the persons that had left the group of 50 people in P. Mela were the ones that were making a commotion in Tsaldari. At Koralli he saw about 10 motorbikes, he saw the persons gather, they were there for a reason. They didn’t underestimate the incident, they didn’t see how he parked the patrol car, and the witness didn’t see who handcuffed Roupakias.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Tobatzoglou the witness stated that the persons outside the café were standing next to the motorbikes, that’s how he knew the bikes were theirs, that the people that were moving were shouting and swearing and when they reached the corner ran away in various directions, the police officers didn’t see where, because they went to the kids. There were civilians present, the police officers were afraid that something might happen to the civilians as well, that’s why they got in pursuit and when they got there Roupakias was already going away.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Zotos the witness stated that he has never been involved in a more serious incident that this one and that the most important thing is that a person died just a block away from them. He also stated that he doesn’t know whether communications are being recorded, that for a few seconds he lost the trail of the people he was chasing, that from other incidents involving Golden Dawn he knows that they appear on foot, dressed in black or camo, and have short-cropped hair. He also stated that he saw the murder weapon only later and that he doesn’t know what is the procedure that must be followed for the delivery of the knife.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Kabagiannis he mentioned that he would characterize the persons in P. Mela Street as a team, they had similar characteristics, they were more numerous than a group of friends, and it was evident they weren’t out for a coffee. They weren’t looking at anywhere specific, but they were right in front of them and left all together, in one motion, whereas if they had been anarchists or soccer fans they wouldn’t have left ignoring the presence of policemen in such a way. Before the group started running they didn’t notice anyone provoking them and the witness stated that they could have left to other directions, not all together to one direction. From Koralli to Tsaldari they needed about 1,5 minute and there was no chance of them observing from afar. He stated that at 62, Tsaldari St. were the perpetrator and the young man. The victim was alone and the perpetrator was involved with another 2-3 people. He disputed that the murderer was sitting unbothered in his car and was preparing to leave, he said that he saw his colleagues taking him out of the car and bringing him to the patrol car.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Sapountzakis he answered that despite the fact that he had the assault rifle he was a little afraid because there were rules of engagement, they could come under attack and they’d have many people against them, and that’s why they couldn’t have prevented the incident.

Responding to questions by civil action counsels Antanasiotis, Zafeiriou, Malagaris, Vrettos, he testified that he didn’t know whether it was a premeditated assault, that he can’t explain how a group of people passed them by and ignored them, that he’s heard the chant BLOOD, HONOR, GOLDEN DAWN in the media, that he’s seen MPs present in Golden Dawn events, Kasidiaris and Michaloliakos, that everything he knows about Golden Dawn he has seen it on TV, for example he has seen people matching the description trashing street market stalls, that they weren’t friendly to immigrants and maybe he heard about a few beatings, and recognized the salute of Michaloliakos as a Nazi salute when shown in photos by the civil action.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Kontovazenitis he answered that he has never supervised an anarchist demonstration, but the persons in Pavlou Mela weren’t anarchists, and he doesn’t think these persons were involved in the Fyssas murder. He repeated that there were two persons in Tsaldari and another three that were harassing Pavlos. Responding to questions by defense counsel Oplantzakis he stated that it was possible that when anarchists saw a group of policemen they would run away, that he can’t recall anything special about the behavior of Chatzistamatis and that he didn’t see him later at the scene of the crime, that there were no other policemen apart from the DIAS squad, that he believes that three people left by Tsaldari after the stabbing, so as to escape arrest. He didn’t see anyone sitting next to Roupakias in the car, and no one tried to take him away, and no one came later to state that he was an eyewitness to the incident, and Fyssas was on his feet for about 5 minutes after they dragged him away. He repeated that the three persons he saw in Tsaldari were with Roupakias, because they were to the back and flanking Pavlos and he saw them push him, maybe even kick him. He stated that it doesn’t seem logical that the 15-20 people that were running from Pavlou Mela intended to lead the police officers on purpose to the scene of the crime.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Velentza, he stated that what he remembers from the signal is the phrase “a group of 50 people carrying wooden clubs are moving towards Koralli Café” and that they immediately fell in pursuit of the people that started running and when they got to Tsaldari, two police officers went directly for Roupakias and the rest went to attend to the victim, pulled him away, and told him to sit down, he was alive for about 15 minutes, he can’t recall anything about two girls arriving, neither the one that claimed she was a nurse, but he said that they might have spoken with someone else, there were many people on the scene.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Tsagas the witness stated that no one attacked him, that he can’t tell apart a member from a mere follower of Golden Dawn, and he didn’t know whether the persons on the night in question were members or mere followers. Responding to questions by defense counsel Mavroeidis (for Stabelos) he said that calling for backup is something that is done when there is a large group of people involved, that obviously Roupakias was not included in that group, because they would have stepped forward and the incident would have been prevented. Finally he said that he can’t identify anyone else apart from the perpetrator.

The presiding judge adjourned for Friday, June 10th, 2016, at 10:00.

The hearing of June 9th, 2016, dealt with the continuation of the witness’s examination and with the presiding judge’s announcement concerning the transfer of the trial to the Ceremony Hall of the Athens Court of Appeals, a matter that the court has struggled with from the start, and also with the request by the Fyssas family for the personal appearance in court of all defendants that are involved in any way to the Fyssas murder.

 

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