113rd Hearing, Court of Appeals, January 10th, 2017
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 due to the harsh weather conditions, but there were members of the press present at the hearing.
2. Presence and representation of the defendants
No defendants were present at the hearing.
The proceedings commenced with the testimony of witness Theodoros Tiliakos, concerning the attack on the PAME members. Defense counsel Alexiadis quit the proceedings in protest just before the trial’s adjournment, saying that the civil action’s questions were leading the witness.
Due to the insufficient heating of the courtroom the trial was adjourned after a request by the state prosecutor, which was supported by the counsels.
4. Testimony of witness Tiliakos
Responding to questions by members of the court, the witness testified that he is an auto mechanic and that he used to work in the Perama Shipping Yards, and that he remains to this day a member of the Board of the Metalworkers’ Union. Concerning the night of the attack he reported that he and a few of his comrades jointly decided to propagandize the KNE [:Communist Youth League] festival. Around 20 people headed out at about 11 at night and proceeded to Dimokratias Avenue, in the direction to Piraeus. He was riding his motorbike, and the group also included 2-3 cars. After 4-5 stops they arrived at the place where they would be attacked, at the Papilas Shipping Yards. He was carrying on the back of his motorbike sheets of cardboard, which would be fixed on the poles and would help with the gluing of posters. They were standing at the right side of the road, where they were putting up the sheets of thick paper. The people in the group were close to each other, since they had the cars and the materials needed to put up the posters. He was on the street side, between Goutis’ jeep and his own motorbike, and in front of and behind him were members of the poster group.
Suddenly, and without any prior warning, he saw about 50 people come out of the alleys and surround the PAME members. They came onto the street and cut off any avenue of escape by forming a semi-circle. The witness went on with his description saying that even after all this time he is terrified and doesn’t like to bring to mind certain events. He reported that the assailants came out of the alleys, marched into position, and started swearing at the PAME members. Some of them were wearing t-shirts emblazoned with Golden Dawn insignia, some of them were wearing motorcycle helmets, and others had their faces uncovered. They introduced themselves by saying “This is Golden Dawn, we are going to kill you, we are going to be the end of you”. He specifically said that one of the two persons that were standing to the front of the attacking group, and was its commander, said “he who decided to finish you here in Perama, it will be done”. He then said that the commanders called Poulikogiannis, who stepped forward and said to them “What’s up guys, did we bother you?” They started swearing at him, and Poulikogiannis told Chatzidakis, one of the two commanders “Didn’t we try to get you your money?” The witness had worked with Chatzidakis on a ship back in 2012. He saw Chatzidakis run away and then he heard shouts and the sound of beatings, and he saw that Poulikogiannis was down, because he had been hit in the head and was losing blood. As the witness was trying to get near Poulikogiannis, he bent down and was hit in the leg, something which caused him to lose his balance and fall down. He was hit many times in the back, however the motorcycle jacket that he was wearing protected him. He was trying to get up and heard people shouting “we’ve called the police” and then one of the commanders said “Those from Perama over here” and the assailants made their getaway through the alley. He was taken to the hospital in one of the cars. The wound in his leg was seen to and he was discharged.
Responding to a relevant question the witness testified that the assailants threw rocks, wooden beams, even a chair, and a DIAS police squad was present at the scene before the assailants made their escape, who did nothing to prevent the attack and did not search the surrounding alleys, at least for as long as the witness stayed at the scene. At that point they didn’t know whether the assailants had killed anyone, given that Poulikogiannis’ face was drenched in blood.
When he was shown various photographs in the police station later, he identified the two leaders of the attack, namely Pantazis and Chatzidakis. He pointed out that the assailants did not offer them the opportunity to get away, since they had cut them off, and that they had deadly intent. Apart from Poulikogiannis, other people were hit on the head, but they tried to protect themselves after the first hit on Poulikogiannis. The witness stressed that the attack had been announced by Golden Dawn MPs in Perama in August of the same year, who had failed to drive some of the union members out of the Shipping Yards, and so decided to kill them. The witness also stated that the attack was ordered by the leader of Golden Dawn, and the commanders carried it out, since this is how the organization operates. He also stated that he was present when an assault squad, acting in a coordinated manner, started smashing the stalls of street sellers in a festival. Then, too, the assailants were wearing t-shirts bearing insignia and were chanting “Blood, Honor, Golden Dawn”.
Responding to a question by the state prosecutor about why the assailants did not pursue their initial goal, which was to murder them, the witness responded that the assailants thought that they had killed Poulikogiannis, and their deadly intent is proven by their modus operandi, which is to come, strike, and leave. He also testified that his motorbike was damaged in the attack. Responding to another question he stated that the signal for the start of the attack was the move by Chatzidakis, and the signal for the finish of the attack was the phrase “Those from Perama over here”. He added that the assailants wanted their actions to be known, and to sow fear in the union.
Responding to questions by the Deputy State Prosecutor the witness stated that the assailants were hitting indiscriminately, whoever was near them, and when he compared the attack with other attacks by Golden Dawn (the Fyssas murder or the attack against the Egyptian fishermen) he said that there are common characteristics, since the assailants were wearing Golden Dawn insignia and carried out the attacks at night. Concerning the Golden Dawn assault squads he said that he lived through one such squad on the night in question, feeling in his bones the violence and the entrapment, which is clearly different than the violence between rival groups of soccer fans, and that apart from the fact that they introduced themselves as Golden Dawn, they also subscribe to an ideology that is against communists and other political groups.
Responding to questions by the civil action he stated that the poles that had spikes at the end cannot be purchased in a shop, that they had to be made in advance, and that the group had deadly intent. He repeated that the order for the attack came from Michaloliakos, the leader of the party, and that the text messages exchanged before, during, and after the attack, prove that there was constant communication with the leadership. When the witness was shown photographs of Poulikogiannis after the incident he said that he thought Poulikogiannis was dead.
Responding to further questions, he mentioned that Kyritsopoulos has started a slave labor union, “Agios Nikolaos”, which is also racist, since it admits only Greeks as members, and maintains that the daily wages in the Shipping Yards are too high, while at the same time operating as a kind of employment office.
Concerning the Golden Dawn assault squads, he equated them with the Golden Dawn assault squads, which carry out the leadership’s orders. He stated that he has seen Golden Dawn MPs participating in the assault squads, such as Germenis in Rafina, and expressing the ideology of Golden Dawn which is Nazi, and according to statements by its leading members, it does not permit in its ranks immigrants, the mentally ill etc. He also referred to the statements made by Zaroulia about untermenschen, and by Michaloliakos, who in Thermopylae said that they are the descendants of those that lost the war in 1945.
Referring to the Lagos text messages, he repeated that the gathering couldn’t have been a random occurrence, since there is a text message that predates the attack, as well as one text message at the time of the attack. It’s clear that someone was reporting from the scene of the attack, and afterwards the attack was not renounced by the leader.
Responding to relevant questions, the witness stated that the goal of the assailants was to trap them, and that the attack had been planned in advance, since this is how they operate, with discipline and hierarchical organization. He also testified that he doesn’t know of any arrests that were made after the attack against the Egyptian fishermen or after the attack against the PAME members.