112th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, December 22nd, 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 were journalists present and a small number of spectators.
2. Presence of defendants
Present at the start of the proceedings was only one of the defendants in the PAME case, I. Kastrinos.
3. Proceedings – Continuation of examination of witness and plaintiff Nikolaos Zymaris by the defense counsels
Responding to questions by defense counsel Velentza, the witness described in brief the steps required of him and his comrades for putting up posters, mentioning among other things that no security measures are taken and that they never obstruct traffic. The presiding judge commented that the putting up of posters is not the object of the taking of evidence. When asked, the witness confirmed his preliminary testimonies.
At that point defense counsel Oplantzakis stated that the witness’s credibility is in doubt. He mentioned a recent article in the newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton [:EFSYN] and asked the witness where is the leadership of Golden Dawn mentioned. The witness said on the first page. The defense counsel then asked a series of questions which the presiding judge rejected as irrelevant to the procedure. The witness was then questioned about the employment status during the last few years in the Perama Shipping Yards [:S/Y]. Concerning the attack of September 12th, 2013, the witness stated that the attackers weren’t aiming for his hip, but for his head -which they failed to hit- and that they “tried to kill him”. The defense counsel questioned the witness about the way Hitler ascended to power and the role that the assault squads had played in it, but the presiding judge rejected the question. The witness stated that the attack was carried out with full knowledge and endorsement by the leader of Golden Dawn. He noted that the leader of a political party seeks to garner votes and that does not exclude the use of violence, in this case through the use of assault squads. And also that the attackers carried out their goal, which was to try to murder someone, irrespective of whether someone died or not. The witness reported that he had met Pavlos Fyssas, that “he was a good kid, antifascist, he had no trouble with anyone”. He cleared up that Fyssas was an antifascist because of his songs and because “we [:the victims of the attack] place people in our hearts, not knives”.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Pantazi, the witness testified that he has been a communist for the past 20 years. He doesn’t know what is Boukouras, her client, accused of, or Golden Dawn’s political positions when he was a candidate, since -as he said- “each time they change”. He didn’t know any details about her client, he had heard that previously he had been a supporter of PASOK. Tensions rose in the court when the defense counsel failed to name a violent incident that involved her client, that has taken place at night. The defense counsel remarked forcefully that “you come here and testify that in the afternoon he was in Parliament and at night he was on the streets. People are on trial here. You should be ashamed of yourself.” And the presiding judge called for a short recess. When the court reconvened the witness testified that from what he’s heard, her client was the commander of an assault squad in the incident in Korinthos. And furthermore, that Golden Dawn participated because it is a Nazi organization. The defense counsel repeated her motion to show the relevant video, so that no impressions will be formed. Furthermore, the witness said that “the whole of Golden Dawn is an assault squad”. The witness was then asked about the characteristics of an assault squad and referred to the ranks formed by its members, the uniform clothes etc. The presiding judge advised the witness to submit her questions seated, in order to remain calm.
Responding to a question by defense counsel Gavelas about whether he and his comrades reacted to the insults directed at them prior to the attack, the witness responded in the negative. He clarified the conditions surrounding the attack, by testifying that he was standing about 2,5 m away from Poulikogiannis and that he couldn’t see Karaberis. He reported that following the incident he discussed it with all the victims and that it is natural that each of them had a different experience. The witness said, verbatim, “I couldn’t see the rest of them with my own eyes. My terror was such that I couldn’t even see the cars. There was a whole incident that was unfolding.” He also stressed that he hasn’t been involved in any violent incidents in the past. The defense counsel asked the witness about the car of his wife, from whom he’s separated. The witness answered that he has already testified on the matter. After a motion by civil action counsel Sapountzakis, tensions rose between the two counsels and the presiding judge called for a short recess. After the court reconvened, the witness was asked whether he had a visual contact with Goutis and he responded that he didn’t. Concerning the goal of the attack, he believes that “I could have been the target, I thought it was all of us. Perhaps this particular person [:Poulikogiannis] because he is the president to the trade union”.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Papadellis, he denied that half of the attackers were youngsters, about 15 years old each. The defense counsel referred to a relevant statement by Poulikogiannis, whereupon the presiding judge wondered whether something like it was indeed said. The defense counsel said “Yes, he has, we keep our own trial records” [cf. documentation by Golden Dawn Watch]. The witness insisted that he didn’t see any 16-year-olds, but he did see “people ready to commit murder”. Responding to further questions, the witness insisted on one of his previous statements, that the members of Golden Dawn (Pantazis in this instance) at that time were enjoying a sort of [unofficial] procedural immunity, since, despite their actions, they remained at large and continued their activity. The witness clarified once more that they weren’t aiming for his hip but for his head, and that after hitting him in the hip they couldn’t try again to hit him in the head, because of his body stance. The witness was positive that the safeguarding teams he has periodically taken part in resemble in no way the assault squads. He also mentioned a lyric by Manos Loizos [:“at the demonstration”] “we opened the chain and you became one of us”. The witness was shown photos and he was asked about the sticks and flags that his comrades carry in demos. The presiding judge -for the umpteenth time- said that “It’s not PAME or KKE that is on trial in this court”. The defense counsel went on with his questions calling the indictment “completely crazy”. It should be noted that the presiding judge rejected many of the questions that were irrelevant to the case on trial.
Defense counsel Michalolias (N.) asked the witness whether the trade union “Agios Nikolaos” is still active, and the witness said that it was.
Defense counsel Michalolias (G.) asked the witness once more about the conditions surrounding the attack. He concentrated on the use of the term “ambush” in the witness’s preliminary testimony, who testified that it was he that used it (and not the police officer who took his testimony). The witness pointed out that the club that hit him was not the same as the one depicted in one of the photos included in the case file. The witness was shown photographs of his wife’s vehicle, to point out the damage caused to it (the reality of which the defense counsel put in doubt). Concerning Golden Dawn the witness testified that “I’m not talking about the voters. The Party is a criminal organization” and that its participation in the elections was allowed by the Supreme Court because Golden Dawn “exploits of a few legal instruments”. He was asked, and responded, about the training in Neda, the Führer Principle, etc. The witness explained that in his preliminary testimony he never referred explicitly to “assault squads”, but the characteristics of the attacking group point to the same thing.
Defense counsel Alexiadis questioned the witness about a few details of the attack that took place on the night of September 12th, 2013. The witness testified that the attackers had thought that they had achieved their objective, to kill someone, because they thought they had succeeded in killing Poulikogiannis. The witness was questioned about the text messages sent by Lagos on the night the attack on the PAME members took place and on the night the Fyssas murder took place, as well as about the speech by Lagos where he refers threateningly to “the lackeys of PAME”.
At this point the presiding judge adjourned for Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 (when witness Th. Tiliakos is expected to testify before the court).