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DAY 74: WITNESS TESTIMONY OF KONTONIKOLAS

74th Hearing, Court of Appeals, July 14th, 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 was significant attendance by the public as well as members of the press.

2. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the start of the hearing were 15 defendants, out of a total of 18 who have been ordered to personally appear in court. Twenty-seven (25) defendants were recorded as absent, while the rest were represented by their counsels.

3. Proceedings – Witness testimony of Kontonikolas

The witness was first called to state if any of the defendants were present at the scene on the night in question. The witness identified Roupakias as the murderer.

Responding to questions by the civil action counsels the witness stated that he and his friends were terrified, that they weren’t together throughout the incident’s unfolding, that during the first encounter with Roupakias’ car the Golden Dawners did not attack them, because they didn’t recognize them, and waited for them to gather in order to do what they had come to do. He also reported that the people he had described as a mob were shouting, screaming, swearing, and that he ran too, but he couldn’t get up and go on after the attack and the beating he received. He went on to state that the Golden Dawners who were waiting for Roupakias and the witness understood this from their behavior when Roupakias arrived, as if they had been keeping Pavlos’ attention so that what was going to happen would happen, and by the fact that when the murder took place they quickly dispersed. He repeated that the Golden Dawners that left the scene passed right in front of police officers and that the presence of the latter did not deter them in the least. He also repeated that during his preliminary testimony the police officers were changing what he said, to make themselves look better. He said once more that the two policemen that were standing on the median strip did nothing until Roupakias arrived, and they could have acted, that the target of the attack was probably Pavlos Fyssas, even though anyone could have been killed on that night. When shown some photographs by civil action counsel Tzellis, he identified Roupakias and identified persons that looked like the persons that attacked them that night.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Christodoulou he testified that they hit him on the head, and then he fell on the shop window and they kept on beating him, and that the people that beat him up were part of an assault squad. Concerning Pavlos Fyssas he had to say that he was active, that he gave concerts, that he participated in community initiatives, and that he wasn’t aggressive.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Papadopoulou he stated that he has heard that Golden Dawners organized the gathering with text messages and that Lagos had given the order to go ahead, that the witness has not received threatening phone calls, that after the attack he received a few suspicious friend requests on facebook by fake accounts.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Zotos he stated that he didn’t know what police station the policemen that took his testimony came from, because some of them were plainsclothes, that he was troubled by the fact that the three Golden Dawners left before the soccer match concluded, at the time he didn’t make the connection, but now he believes that they went to get organized, and that’s why they managed to gather so fast. He was alarmed by the sight of Roupakias’ car followed by the motorbikes, and thought that something would happen to his own group. The people in the convoy were visually related to those he had seen in Koralli. He discussed with Melachrinopoulos the man that had introduced himself as a policeman and was talking alternatively with his friends and with the Golden Dawners on P. Mela Street. He also reported that there was a big numerical difference between the Golden Dawn group and the Fyssas group, that in the café they did not expect to be attacked, but afterwards they did, that the Golden Dawners were also physically stronger, and that the witness could certainly not have dealt with them, that his own group had no other plan than to run. Compared to other Golden Dawn attacks he knows of, he discerned a few common patterns, mainly that they take place at night and that they are planned in advance. After the attack he stopped going out because he was afraid that Golden Dawners would recognize him and attack him, since none of the Golden Dawn group was arrested that night.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Kabagiannis he stated that they went to Koralli because Fyssas and his friends didn’t have a car, that the persons in P. Mela St. could have left by another way, that their group never provoked anyone, they weren’t holding anything that could have been used as a weapon, while the people that were shouting at them from the opposite side of the street made them afraid, and they could have stopped them if they had decided to run. He answered that he described the group as a mob, not only because they were shouting, but because they had violent intentions and they were swearing at them.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Papadakis he stated that the people that were in the mob were coordinated, that there were 20 of them beating 9 people, that the car arrived and they made way for it to pass, the whole incident happened in prearranged stages, and their body type seemed like they had been handpicked for stuff like this, lots of people showed up in a very short time, to the witness it seemed planned in advance. They needed Roupakias because apart from the beating they gave the witness and his friends, they also wanted to kill Fyssas.

After a short recess, the witness reported that as he was coming up the corridor he was photographed by people that weren’t journalists.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Papadakis the witness stated that Roupakias could have asked Pavlos the way to Kefallinias St. in order to see them and identify them. The witness first saw the police on Pavlou Mela St., which was where he first realized that the Golden Dawners’ movements were suspicious, the second time was when the latter were running after them, shouting and screaming, something that was noticed by the police, and lastly the officers never stepped in, not even when his friends were being bludgeoned with helmets. He stated that the fact that he didn’t go to a forensic surgeon can be attributed to the officers’ behavior on the night in question, because he didn’t feel safe enough to testify, while the same event had a positive impact on the psychology of the attacking Golden Dawners, who felt easier exactly because of this.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Sapountzakis he stated that what happened on that night was an 100% unprovoked attack, planned in advance, it seems very strange to him that the police arrested nearly every witness but not one Golden Dawner, and also estimates that Roupakias could have escaped.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Stratis, the witness said that Roupakias wanted to get away, that the motorbikes seemed to follow the silver-colored car of Roupakias, while the group that attacked the PAME members and the group that attacked the witness and his friends had the same appearance and acted within a very short timeframe.

Responding to civil action counsel Malagaris he stated that he wasn’t in a position to give detailed answers during his preliminary testimony, so he gave a summary, he does not practice any martial arts neither does he get into fights, and he believes that if the average person sees a group of Golden Dawners he will know they are Golden Dawners. He couldn’t have heard whether someone gave orders to the assembled Golden Dawners on the night in question and he didn’t see anything that could have accounted for Roupakias actions’ from Koralli to Tsaldari.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Zafeiriou he stated that the police officers could easily have noted down the license plates on the Golden Dawners’ motorbikes in order to later locate them. Concerning the Golden Dawn party he answered that the knows that they give the nazi salute, that they are opposed to anyone that is different, and that they try to impose their ideology through violence. He doesn’t know if leading members of the party participate in the assault squads, neither what the words Golden Dawn signify, but he does know that there’s a party by that name in the Greek Parliament. Concerning the assault squads he said that they operate like an army and they carry out attacks, and he’s seen Golden Dawn MPs with symbols like the meander, while some of them even sport swastika tattoos.

Responding to questions from defense counsel Gavelas the witness stated that on the night in question he was with Melachrinopoulos, who passed by his house because they had been left speechless after the incident, and when told by the counsel that Melachrinopoulos claims that he went to a café called MIKRO, the witness answered that it was the café Souvenir, since there’s no café MIKRO in the area. He also stated that while in Koralli he didn’t hear Fyssas and Melachrinopoulos say something to each other, but that he can’t be sure, maybe they whispered something between them. He also responded that he is annoyed when someone is staring at him, but he himself didn’t stare at anyone, he was dealing with the persons that left before them, because they passed right in front of them, in his first testimony he was in a room with four police officers, some of whom were plainclothes, in his testimony he didn’t speak about the assembled crowd, even though he thought that the fact of their presence was crucial, and the second time he was called only to make the identification and no one asked him about the assembled crowd. Concerning the video of Patelis he stated he remembers the phrase “anything that moves get slaughtered” and the phrases “we’re Golden Dawn, we don’t do anything on our own”, and he doesn’t remember anyone laughing in the video, nor is he interested whether Patelis has contributed to society, and that he saw the video in question on Youtube. He made clear that he read on the internet that the crowd assembled after they received a text message, whose content he is not familiar with.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Kontovazenitis the witness said that he has graduated from high school and that he has studied 3D animation, that when he said it was a mob he meant people that were acting as a team, that he wasn’t speaking with the civil action counsels, that he’s not politically active, that after the crime he discussed it with Doulvaris, that on the night in question he didn’t see a negotiator, but he did see a man around 35 checking Pavlos’ pulse. He repeated that it was no fight. It was four people beating up Pavlos.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Oplantzakis he stated that in his first testimony there were four policemen, that on the night in question they had gone out for a beer, that he’s not even that interested in soccer, and he insisted that he and Melachrinopoulos first went to the Souvenir and then to Koralli, that a man took their order, and that he had a beer. That he doesn’t know why Melachrinopoulos described differently the incident with the car and the motorbikes, that he was alarmed when the motorbikes arrived, because that’s what happens when they show up, that it was just a few seconds after they stopped beating Fyssas that Roupakias stabbed him, and that Fyssas couldn’t have left, he was surrounded. Defense counsel Oplantzakis asked the witness how is it possible that Fyssas was stabbed three times and didn’t cry out in pain and the witness says that he did not remember, and wondered whether Oplantzakis means that Fyssas wasn’t stabbed. He went on to say that he didn’t see the knife himself, that the Golden Dawners that were opposite them with the four over Pavlos left after the stabbing, and that the policemen could easily see Roupakias holding the knife because they were closer still to Pavlos. He didn’t hear whether the Golden Dawners that were shouting said something like “get him” but they were trying to intimidate the friends of Fyssas and cheer on Roupakias and the attackers. The times he visited Fyssas at his house they talked about music, Pavlos had written a lot of songs and he knows one of them which is antifascist, titled “FUCK THEM”.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Velentza the witness answered that he is certain that he went to the café in the way that he described, that they left Souvenir immediately and that they were a bit cramped in the cars, that they went all together to Koralli and that some of the people there he only knew by sight. He testified that they understood right away that the guys in black they saw in Koralli were Golden Dawn, because they had the right body type and one of them was wearing camo, that Roupakias did not have the same body type and that if the witness remembers correctly his car had license plates, but he can’t remember if the car windows were normal or tinted. He also said that Roupakias wasn’t visible to everyone the same, but Fyssas saw him, the witness was 10 feet away from Fyssas with no one else in the way and he didn’t see the knife, he only saw the lunge of Roupakias.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Tsebetzis the witness stated that it is his custom to go to more than one place when he goes out at night, that the policemen should have understood that he was in no position to testify, and that he does not entirely confirm his first testimony. The defense counsel motioned once more to cross-examine the witness with the police officers and repeated the motion when the witness said that the police officers could see that the four were beating up Fyssas, since they were close to the median strip.

Responding to questions from defense counsel Tsagas he answered that the one extra person in the group was Michalis Ksypolitos, that his house is approximately 1 km away from Koralli, that he was called to testify by phone call, and that he took his testimony very seriously. He also stated that he didn’t get a good look at the persons that were chasing them because they attacked him, but he heard them coming, he started running, but he didn’t manage to get away because they caught up with him. The witness didn’t hear them say anything while they were beating up Fyssas, Pavlos was getting beaten and tried to defend himself with his fists, and he was very close to the parking space the car came to stop. He can’t say whether the poeple across the street could see the knife, there was the median strip between them and Fyssas, maybe a garbage bin, and the car. Defense counsel Tsagas made a series of questions about whether the persons that were standing across the street from the spot of the murder could really tell what Roupakias was doing, and finally the presiding judge intervened to say that this matter is subject to a variety of parameters, such as visibility and position. The witness stated that neither he nor Melachrinopoulos received first aid.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Roubekas the witness answered that the distance between Koralli and Souvenir is about 500 meters, that parking is easy to find in the area, that they weren’t in any hurry to get to Koralli, and that they parked somewhere near Kefallinias St. He also testified that where he was on 62, Tsaldari St. he thinks there were a few parked cars but that Roupakias could easily have parked elsewhere, there were free parking spaces 20 m further down, that Fyssas had no time to respond when the four people opened up, that the witness was looking at the back of Fyssas, that after the hit Fyssas coiled his body (as the presiding judge had said) and looked alive for something like 10 minutes, but after that he was immobile. He also stated that Roupakias saw them cross the street after the first encounter they had with him, but he doesn’t know whether he could tell where they would go or whether they would have left through the side streets. He went on to say that if you’re hitting someone on the head with a motorcycle helmet you might want to kill him, that Roupakias could have looked at him first if the witness was standing in Fyssas’ place, that he never thought to get into the taxi with Pakiotis to save his life. He also stated that for live performances Pavlos used the pseudonym KILLAH P and that he doesn’t know whether Chatziefstratiou, whom he recognized in photos as a person named Nikos, is using the pseudonym THANASIMOS [:DEADLY].

Concerning the same photo, defense counsel Roubekas asked the witness whether a few of the friends of Chatziefstratiou, who also had short hair, could give the impression on the street that they’re Golden Dawn, and he replied in the negative, since in his opinion there are other things that single out a Golden Dawner.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Pagonas he stated that he left Koralli as soon as the soccer match was over and that he doesn’t remember the time exactly. He had a beer in Koralli, he doesn’t remember what time was half-time, and the match started at ten to ten. After the end of the game it must have taken them something like ten minutes to leave the place, and another ten minutes until the murder. When the defense counsel asked the witness whether what he said earlier stands, i.e. that he was hit only on the head, he answered no, and the presiding judge intervened to say that the witness never said anything of the sort.

The defense counsel then asked why he doesn’t seek justice with the assistance of a counsel against “the monsters of Golden Dawn” and the answer was that the witness would never do that because he’s terrrified of Golden Dawners.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Spyropoulos he stated that no one helped him get away, the four could have, and for the other twenty he doesn’t know.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Mammis he stated that the two persons that left the café would never do anything alone, even as they were, muscular etc., that those riding the motorbikes were wearing helmets and he couldn’t see their faces, and that he didn’t see the face of Roupakias, that the man that kicked him wore army boots, that he kicked him in the ribs, but they didn’t fracture, he had headaches and his sides were hurting. Concerning the people across the street he said that maybe the prearranged plan didn’t allow them come, too, and beat them up. He repeated that he never heard anything that could target Fyssas at that moment, certainly not the phrase “This is Keratsini, where we smash fascism”. He also said that the members of Golden Dawn are homophobic, and answered that he’s not familiar with the song UNTOUCHED CITY by Pavlos Fyssas, which the defense counsel said contains homophobic lyrics.

The presiding judge announced that on the hearing of Friday, July 15th, Chrysoula Roupakia will testify, announced the court dates for September (Korydallos: 6, 8; Court of Appeals: 5, 9, 12, 13, 19, 23, 27), and adjourned for Friday, July 15th, at 09:00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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