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DAY 111: “THE ATTACKS SEND A MESSAGE OF IMPUNITY TO THE MEMBERS OF GOLDEN DAWN”

Ι. 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.

  1. Presence and representation of the defendants

There were no defendants present at the start of the hearing. In the course of the hearing only one of the defendants in the PAME case, I. Kastrinos, appeared in court.

ΙΙΙ. Proceedings – Examination of requests

The hearing started with the continuation of testimony of witness Zymaris.

  1. Continuation of testimony of witness Zymaris

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Sapountzakis the witness testified that Golden Dawn is the only parliamentary party to have assault squads, the assault squad is the operational arm of Golden Dawn, and is connected to its ideology. An assault squad is not becoming for a party but for a military organization and is unthinkable within a democratic society. There wasn’t a single pacifist in the 50 people that attacked them, he couldn’t see what each one was doing, but they were all united under a single cause. They were shouting insults in all seriousness, it was an act of political terrorism, they wanted the PAME members’ physical elimination and this is shown by the severity of the blows, for example the witness would have been killed if he hadn’t protected his head with his hands, but also by everything else, the way they arrived, they introduced themselves, they surrounded them. Golden Dawn operates under the Führer Principle, for example Patelis had said that they do nothing without the leader knowing about it, and Apostolou said “that’s the way hierarchy works, you talk to Giannis [:Lagos], Giannis talks to the Big Guy [:Michaloliakos], and the Big Guy decides”, but there’s also the former leader of a chapter who now says that all actions were taken following an order from the leader. The video of August 8th was the announcement of the attack, and such an action by such a party cannot be taken without the leader knowing about it. The S/Y has a 5-day, 35-hour workweek, which has been agreed on with the signing of a collective agreement, and also the security measures in place have been imposed after the workers fought for them. Some people, of course, will lower their demands to have food on the table, but most people in the S/Y will fight for their rights. The bosses have a vested interest to not let it happen and have tried many times to put a stop to the union organizers, and of course arranged for their physical elimination. 

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Malagaris the witness answered that he doesn’t know if Pantazis was kicked out of the ranks of Golden Dawn after the assault against the Egyptians, that someone sitting in the Just Eleven Café could hear nothing of what went on at the scene of the attack, he didn’t see anyone arrive later, and that he believes that Kastrinos was participating in the attack. He knows of members of Golden Dawn that have carried out attacks with their faces fully visible, Roupakias is a good example, but Germenis too with his assault squad in Rafina in 2012, Kasidiaris slapping [KKE MP] Kanelli, Michos and Lagos at the head of a motorized demonstration who descended onto a community center and injured people. These attacks send a message of impunity to the members of the party. The same message sent by the fact that Pantazis was accused of attempted murder and he’s walking free. The uncovered faces of the attackers are a badge of honor for Golden Dawn. The damage done to the cars on the night in question could not have been done without spiked weapons. 

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Antanasiotis the witness stated that Agios Nikolaos is called a slave labor union by the workers because it is an employment office that is looking for slaves, and was founded amid the Golden Dawn’s declarations that the unions must go down. Both the S/Y bosses and Golden Dawn stand to profit from this, financially as well as politically. 

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Vrettos the witness stated that the people on his own side said nothing, they made no provocation, and there was no chance that the assailants were out to put up posters, too. The witness knows that after the attack they found on the scene wooden clubs and other objects, that there are similarities with other violent incidents, and that the assault was instantaneous. 

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Theodoropoulos he stated that the leadership of Golden Dawn denied any connection to the assault, something that amounts to a cover-up and encouragement, and no one from Golden Dawn made any announcement to deny Golden Dawn’s connection to the attack. Instead, Michaloliakos had said that after every incident like it, the secret polls show that Golden Dawn increased its approval rating by 2%. The witness also knows about the text messages exchanged before and after the attack, something that was proven by the published telephone discussions of Lagos, in which he’s referring to the attack.

When the defense counsels protested, the witness repeated that as far as he knows there was no official denial of the Lagos telephone discussions, and also said that Roupakias was directly connected to Golden Dawn and was a participant in military-style training in Neda, the kind that special forces undergo, and as for the murder of Fyssas the witness estimates that there was no way it was carried out for soccer-related differences, it was an assault squad against antifascists. 

Responding to questions by defense counsel Stratis the witness stated that the assailants were carrying weapons with spikes fitted at their ends, that cannot be bought in the stores, but must be made with the aim to kill. 

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Zafeiriou the witness stated that the activities of Golden Dawn can be attributed to its Nazi ideology, to the fact that in their world there is no room for everyone, and that Nazism is equal to crimes, while Michaloliakos himself has stated that Golden Dawn is the seed of the defeated of 1945, that they will come back and the earth will tremble, and that Zaroulia has said in Parliament that immigrants are untermenschen

The defense erupted in protest and the presiding judge pointed out that all of the above are included in the indictment, the witness went on to say that Kasidiaris has stated that Hitler was a social reformer and that he will be judged by history, and that MP Zisimopoulos has admitted that they are Nazis and fascists. The views of Golden Dawn concerning wages are well known, too, that for example in Bulgaria, where wages are low, there are better investment opportunities. 

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Tzelis the witness stated that the MPs had come to the S/Y for a speech, that the phrase that was heard at the end of the assault meant that there were people involved that were not from Perama, that he has seen MPs take the leading part in various incidents, that at on the day of the Fyssas murder there were telephone conversations between Lagos and Patelis right before the murder, and between Lagos and Michaloliakos right after the murder, the last of whom assumed the political responsibility for the crime. 

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Kougiatsou the witness stated that after the phrase was heard at the end of the attack, the assailants departed immediately, which means that it was an order.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Papadopoulou he stated that he thinks that they used a knife in the attack on Antipnoia, and that “antifa” means antifascist. The witness also testified that he knows of the Periandros case, who was convicted of the attempted murder of Kousouris, who said [Periandros, that is] that if he started talking Michaloliakos would go to prison, that Patelis has said that nothing happens without approval by Michaloliakos, that if the member of any given party commits murder the party will probably delete him from its ranks, whereas Golden Dawn doesn’t. 

At this point, and amid strong protests by the defense counsels, the presiding judge stated that the incidents of violence by Golden Dawn must be heard in court, since they fall within the indictment for a criminal organization. Each defendant is accused of 10 counts.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Tobatzoglou the witness answered that no one in the PAME group had his or her face covered, and no one was out on a walk, and there was absolutely no chance that the PAME group numbered 40 people, and the assailants only 15.

Civil action counsel Kabagiannis stated that first they are investigating about the participation in, and then about running a criminal organization, it is included in the indictment and the decision concerning the Periandros case is one of the documents to be read, by order of the State Prosecutor. Responding to the civil action counsel’s questions the witness stated that the weapons that he saw were first used on his own person, that he was terrified from start to finish, that they first hit Poulikogiannis, but then kept hitting the rest to kill them, that it wasn’t a random encounter but a murderous attack, and that Michaloliakos is the leader, but there are other leading members, such as Lagos or Pantazis, whom they knew as the leader of the local chapter, but he also played a leading role on the incident in question. Concerning the assault squads he stated that it’s the same thing with members, and he knows that some employers tell their employees to “Accept this lower wage or I’ll close down the factory”, and some of the employees accept it.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Zotos the witness testified that the attack had been announced on August 8th, that the MPs are also participating in assault squads, that Fyssas was attacked by a Nikaia assault squad, that the order to attack the PAME members came from high up, that the participation of no less than two MPs in the attack in Ilioupouli means that assault squads and Golden Dawn are one and the same, that the attack on the Egyptian fishermen was unprovoked, because Golden Dawn are Nazis.

The witness was then questioned by the defense counsels. The first to take the floor was defense counsel Anastasopoulou (for Kastrinos), to whom the witness answered that he saw Kastrinos in the middle of the attack, but he wasn’t holding anything, Kastrinos did not hit the witness but he can’t say if he hit anyone else, he also said that he doesn’t know what photographs they showed him, but he does know that he has identified him, and now that he sees him in person he has changed, but he has identified him. He mentioned that KKE issued a statement after the incident, but he can’t recall what it said and knows that Kastrinos was there, that the attackers numbered about 50 people, but he can’t say how old they were, he doesn’t know why the others didn’t see Kastrinos, never before has he seen fights break out during the putting up of posters, and Poulikogiannis has never participated in riots. He has seen riots break out in demonstrations, but this was an ambush by people carrying weapons. The witness doesn’t know if Pantazis was the one that hit him, and he didn’t see him do anything else than talk with Poulikogiannis before the attack began, and most of them had their faces uncovered. 

Responding to questions by defense counsel Kontovazenitis the witness testified that if Golden Dawn was following them it would have been very easy to figure out when they were going out to put up posters, that they tried to kill them, and to defense counsel Dimitrakopoulos he answered that before the attack he had never received any threats by Golden Dawn. 

Responding to questions by defense counsel Tsagas he answered that they have been trying to conform to the agreements since 2009.

At this point the journalists protested that defense counsel Karydomatis was photographing them, and the latter said that he did it by mistake, and the presiding judge reprimanded him.

The witness went on to say that Golden Dawn does everything in its power to lower the wages, that Panagiotaros was talking about the wages in Bulgaria and about tax hikes for the Greek shipping moguls, that the union supports workers’ rights through the parliamentary parties, except Golden Dawn, he thinks that the parliamentary work done by Golden Dawn has no connection to the employees, that in reality they promote other interests, that after the attack the activities of the union were not hindered further by Golden Dawn, that he has read about the Führer Principle and the other things he mentioned in the media, that he has seen Germenis participating in a leadership capacity in the incidents in Rafina, and as for the fact that they witness’s answers were nearly identical to the ones given by Lekodimitris, he said that it’s possible they were asked the same questions, almost everyone from his group was hit. Concerning Poulikogiannis he stated that he was bleeding, but that in the photographs he was shown by Tsagas he couldn’t see any blood because they were too dark, the wound he sustained was a hole and he has already shown where he would have been wounded if he hadn’t protected himself with his hands. After the first hit all of them drew close together on the pavement to save themselves, if someone had thrown a Molotov bomb somewhere nearby he would have heard it, they were hitting both the people and the cars at the same time. Responding to questions by defense counsel Zografou the witness stated that his party has more procedures, but they find time to go out and put up posters, among other work that needs to be done, and that the assailants belonging to a Nazi organization can kill with their faces covered or uncovered. Responding to the question why no one was killed on the night in question, he testified that they fought for their lives and they won, that Michos had said in the S/Y that they lackeys of KKE will be stamped out, that the Golden Dawn MPs also participate in the leadership, and that they have to get approval by the leader about everything. 

Responding to questions by defense counsel Roussopoulos the witness testified that he visited once more the hospital to remove the stitches, that the street at the scene of the attack is an avenue, the port, an assault squad that knows how to do its job would block the street too, he didn’t see if the bus was stopped, Poulikogiannis must have said to Pantazis that “for you we organized a whole protest”, Pantazis said we’re Golden Dawn, but the talk was very brief, that GSEE are said to be sellouts, but they don’t do things like this, or other unions with which they[:the PAME] has ideological and political differences, that he heard about the meeting with the bosses from Poulikogiannis, but he told him nothing about what happened in the State Prosecutor’s office, that Agios Nikolaos is a labor union recognized by law, and that there were 5 or 6 of them in the ambulance. 

Responding to questions by defense counsel Velentza the witness responded that he sustained no more hits until the assailants departed, that no one dragged him away, that all the charges for their union activity have been dropped, and he remembers one of them was because they had gone to a workplace, that after the incident a huge demonstration took place and they passed from the street parallel to the Golden Dawn offices, that he has seen photos of wooden objects such as clubs etc. near the Golden Dawn offices, that he doesn’t know if there was an on-site investigation conducted about the blood stains, that he doesn’t remember if anyone was talking to the police after they arrived, he’s never heard that PAME has assault squads, that their union has members working outside the S/Y, it’s the Attica Metalworkers’ Union, that he doesn’t know the election results of the union in 2010, that Poulikogiannis was standing in front of him, not next to him.

The presiding judge adjourned for Thursday, December 22nd, 2016, at 09:00, at the Women’s Wing of Korydallos Prison.