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DAY 110: WITNESS TESTIMONIES OF KARABERIS AND ZYMARIS

110th Hearing, Court of Appeals, December 16th, 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 reduced public attendance, but there were members of the press present at the hearing.

2. 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.

3. Proceedings – Examination of requests

The hearing commenced with the conclusion of the testimony by witness Karaberis. After a short recess the hearing continued with the testimony of witness and plaintiff Zymaris.

Continuation of cross-examination of witness Karaberis

Responding to questions by defense counsel Papadelis, the witness answered that in the beginning he was in the Perama charter, but then he changed KOVA [:Party Base Organization], and that is an internal procedure of the party, which of course could have easily refused his request. On the night in question they had gathered in the party offices to propagandize the festival of KNE [:Communist Party Youth League], the fact that some members of their union are members of KKE is not a secret. If a someone had seen them, he or she would have understood that they propagandized the KNE festival, as they were carrying official party materials. Responding to a relevant question he stated that he doesn’t know why the medical certificate doesn’t mention the wounds that he testified about, that often there are medical issues that come up after the fact, and that apart from the fracture he mentioned in response to a question by defense counsel Tsagas he had nothing more to add. The presiding judge intervened three times to say that the witness’s responses will be estimated along with the documents to be read, at a later stage of the trial. Defense counsel Papadelis then asked the witness why he has no other fractures, only to receive the answer that his question means that on that night there were no dead. Tensions rose between the defense counsels and the civil action counsels. Continuing his answers to defense counsel Papadelis, the witness stated that he has no other wound and that this wound was obviously sustained in defense, while Papadelis commented that the wound was caused by the witness’s own offensive action. The witness also stated: that while he was fighting for his life he didn’t have time to note the height and body type of the assailants; that he was a candidate in the municipal elections with Laiki Syspirosi, which was supported by KKE; that he can understand if someone who has tattoos, for example meanders etc., is involved in criminal activities, when his actions are in concert with the symbols that he bears [:on his body]. Referring specifically to Kasidiaris, the tattoo he has on his arm is connected to criminal activities, since he has been observed giving the Nazi salute and abuse journalists. He is connected to the incident, since everyone knows that he was a leading member of Golden Dawn and had full knowledge, and this is illustrated by Golden Dawn’s military structure and from the statements of its leading members.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Michalolias, he answered that on the night in question they knew about the military structure from speeches given by the leadership, and that he doesn’t know whether it was Michaloliakos or Minister Dendias that first used the term “assault squads”. At any event, when the attack took place he knew they were dealing with assault squads. The scene of the attack was adequately lit, the expandable batons that he observed were black, the people that were holding them were standing 6-9 feet away, he saw one of them who was opening and closing his baton on the hood of the car, and another three or four. The attack would have been harder to pull off if there had been cars passing from that spot. He was trying to cover first and foremost his head, but also his body, and thinks that Zymaris’ wound was caused by spikes. He also stated that he decided to participate in the movement the moment it was organized and on the night in question he went to the spot as an active member, the party he belongs to has no leadership, there are collective bodies. He believes that the goal of the attack was to harm the unionists in the S/Y, since KKE is formed through the unions, and given that Lagos, Michos, and Panagiotaros had talked about the abscess of PAME that would be stamped out from Perama. The presiding judge forbade any further questions of a political nature.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Roussopoulos, the witness stated that he doesn’t know who made all the calls to arrange the poster action on the night in question, that there were more groups putting up posters, although he can’t say if they were near the scene at that time of the attack, and to the question why the others weren’t hit and whether it was a clash, he answered that it was a premeditated murderous attack, but the goal isn’t always attained. The presiding judge did not allow defense counsel Roussopoulos’ questions regarding the treaty of Varkiza and the worker movement, while the witness said that he has never received military training, that he doesn’t know of the statements of Georgiadis concerning the trade union, neither whether the suits against the union where filed by Golden Dawn or not. He testified that he has read the sms messages sent by Lagos, which were published in the newspaper Efsyn, which said that things in Nikaia were calmer, and he repeated that on the night in question there was no way they could have left. The presiding judge did not allow general questions about KKE and KNAT, and tensions rose in the court.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Alexiadis the witness answered that they stopped the beating arbitrarily, and because they thought that Poulikogiannis was dead, and because an assault squad can’t remain in one place and hit people for half an hour, and that it was only by chance that the other 12 weren’t wounded. The assault took place in two stages, first they tried to scare them, they surrounded them and then they started beating them, while the victims didn’t retaliate. For the first sms message of Lagos the witness answered that it referred to them [:the PAME members], that the claim that the PAME members were 40 people and the Golden Dawners 20 is unfounded, that it’s not true that the KKE groups went out to paint over Golden Dawn slogans, and that Lagos had full knowledge because there’s another sms message sent to Develegos that he gathered 40 people and he’s on his way to meet them. He stated that the words of Panagiotaros, that the port lackeys will be stamped out, were realized with the attack that is currently on trial. He knows that the Agios Nikolaos union is Golden Dawn-supported and that it’s their disguise. Concerning the statement about the fish auction he remembers that they said that from now on everyone involved in the auction will answer to Golden Dawn, and added that the murderous attack at the auction is not a legitimate solution to the problem of undocumented fishermen.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Pantazis he stated that he hasn’t read Golden Dawn’s statute, that its political positions are evident from its actions and that concerning Boukouras and Alexopoulos he doesn’t know of anything specific that proves their Nazi ideology.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Oplantzakis he stated that they wanted to kill them, that one isn’t killed if he is hit in the ribs, and that he doesn’t know why they weren’t hit in the liver.

4. Testimony of witness Zymaris

In brief, he testified, with intervening questions by the presiding judge, that he is a metallurgist, that he participates in the administration of the trade union since 2012 and that he is a member of KKE since 2004. On September 12th, 2013, he was in the KKE offices in Perama, where they had arranged to meet to propagandize the festival of KNE. At about 11:03 they started with Lekodimitris and Karaberis and went to the S/Y, and then about 20 people headed for Dimokratias Ave. in the direction of Piraeus. They had with them sheets of thick paper and staplers, and the witness was driving the car. They didn’t note anything out of the ordinary, no one was following them. It was 11:45 when they reached the scene of the attack, at the Papilas Shipping Yard, where the road is one way. They stopped on the right side of the street, there were a few cars passing, and the street was well-lit, but there were no pedestrians. The street is lit by street lamps that have been placed every few meters. At some point he realized that people were coming out of the alleys, two groups of 25 persons each, that they were all on foot, and that they surrounded them. He didn’t hear anything particular beforehand, only the sound of their march.  They had a threatening aspect, they were holding weapons, they swore at them, they told them they were going to kill them, and they formed ranks and surrounded them. In the front were Chatzidakis and Pantazis. The witness is living in the same neighborhood as Pantazis so he knows him well. Poulikogiannis talked with them very briefly, and in that interval the witness saw one of them holding a pole with a metal bit fastened at one end, like the ones in metal balusters. Then he saw Vaxevanis holding Poulikogiannis and as he was going to assist, he came under attack too. He was hit on the arm and it was like he was shot with electricity, he didn’t know where he had been hit. He stated that the goal of the assailants on the night in question was murder, and he believes they were members of Golden Dawn, since they were all wearing black, and some wore Golden Dawn t-shirts etc. He was impressed by the formation, their synchronized movements, and the order that was given to leave. For the defendant in question, Kastrinos, he stated that he saw him at the scene, but he wasn’t holding anything, neither did he do anything, but that doesn’t mean that he actually didn’t. Some of the assailants had covered faces, and some hadn’t, he didn’t see how Poulikogiannis was hit, whom they thought dead, and after that the witness was trying to defend himself and save his life. On that day he comprehended the murders perpetrated by fascism and nazism. They couldn’t leave, they had been surrounded, and it was clear that they [:the Golden Dawners] had come to kill, he understood that from their formation, from the suddenness of the attack, and their escape. The witness mentioned that Golden Dawn had announced the crime beforehand, since Lagos, Michos, and Panagiotaros had threatened that KKE and PAME would be stamped out, and that’s what they tried to do. KKE is the main ideological opponent of Golden Dawn, because if is founded on different values, it supports immigrants and workers. The employers wanted to achieve a climate of total employee insecurity, a process which had been going on for years, with continued litigation, they even started a new union and when they failed, they tried to physically exterminate the unionists. Golden Dawn was their weapon, Kasidiaris had said that PAME would be stamped out and Golden Dawn would call the shots and then Kyritsopoulos was saying that wages should be lowered. The witness stated that they know that money had changed hands in a meeting between the employers and Michaloliakos, to drive the union out of the picture, and that the matter has been turned over to the state prosecutor. He also stated that they know of other criminal activities, as well as the Fyssas murder, which had similar characteristics to the attack on them, it was a swift strike. He also knows that the assault squads are the operational arm of Golden Dawn, and he knows of other attacks against immigrants, street markets, and Antipnoia.

Responding to questions by the state prosecutor he answered that they thought that Poulikogiannis was dead, but they kept on hitting, that they hadn’t covered their faces, because they wanted their actions to be known, and because they thought they had procedural immunity, and this can be deduced from the behavior of Roupakias and Pantazis in Perama. On the night in question the attackers’ commanders were Pantazis and Chatzidakis. They couldn’t leave the scene of the attack, because there were cars and they were surrounded. They didn’t retaliate in the slightest and the witness later understood the difference between a clash and an attack. The car he was driving that night was his wife’s, but she didn’t press charges because she was afraid of Golden Dawn. Kastrinos was identified by other people from their group. He believes that the attack was coordinated from elsewhere, that there had been a headquarters, and that this operational structure reaches up to the leader, using as a model the Führer principle of the German Nazi Party. The whole leadership had come to the S/Y and their slogans had been hail Golden Dawn and hail the leader. Their parliamentary presence is the cloak they wear to be able to do the things they want.

The presiding judge adjourned, due to the intense cold inside the courtroom, for Monday, December 19th, at 09:00.

 

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