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DAY 132: “THE CAUSE OF THE ATTACKS IS RACISM”

132nd Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, March 2nd, 2017

I. 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, until all audience seats in the courtroom are filled. Few journalists and spectators showed up in court today.
ΙΙ. Presence and representation of the defendants
None of the defendants was present at the hearing, and most of them were represented by their counsels.
III. Testimony of witness Javed Aslam (president of the Pakistani community in Greece)
A. Examination by the members of the court
The witness testified, interrupted with questions by the members of the court, that Golden Dawn has been systematically and repeatedly attacking Muslim immigrants. As president of the Pakistani community he is in a position to hear the first-hand accounts of the victims of the attacks, which he mentioned one by one. More specifically he analyzed dozens of incidents involving damage to the property of immigrant businesses, arsons in religious sites, hundreds of unprovoked attacks against immigrants, motorized demonstrations, stabbings, and murders. Apart from the incidents in which Golden Dawn is directly involved, the witness also mentioned negligence on the part of the Greek Police, and specifically said that policemen will routinely deny to file the charges of immigrants that have been attacked, and also said that policemen have tortured immigrants. Responding to another question the witness stated that before 2009-2010, the same perpetrators were operating underground, but already they had been introducing themselves as Golden Dawn, or were wearing clothes emblazoned with the Golden Dawn insignia.
B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels
The witness was questioned in turn by the civil action counsels Kabagiannis, Zotos, Theodoropoulos, Stratis, Papadopoulou, and Tobatzoglou. Responding to relevant questions the witness stated that his testimony can be corroborated by stories in the press, since the only avenue of defense open to the immigrants is to publicize the attacks on their person. Apart from the attacks he mentioned when questioned by the members of the court, the witness added to the list other attacks in the area of Agios Panteleimonas, in vehicles of the public transit system, and in an Athens mosque, and made mention of at least 900 victims, who have been attacked by people claiming to be Golden Dawners or who were wearing clothes with the party’s insignia.
Responding to a question about the escalation of the modes of attack used by Golden Dawn and the possible involvement of its leadership, the witness stated that defendant Skordeli was involved in violent incidents in Agios Panteleimonas when she was a candidate with Golden Dawn and that no member of Golden dawn had been arrested up until 2012. The witness added that after 2012 the attacks were not anonymous, since the assailants wore Golden Dawn clothes. He also stated that Golden Dawn announced during the election campaign but also in parliament that they will drive out “all that trash, the immigrants”, and that they have never condemned any violent attack. Quite the contrary, as he said, the attacks were not random, since the assailants arrived well-organized and attacked according to a plan. Finally, concerning the Fyssas murder, the witness testified that the reason he was murdered was that Fyssas supported equality among people and did not believe in discrimination.
C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels
Responding to questions by defense counsels Zografou, Karydomatis, Aggeletou, Michalolias, Pantazis, and Roussopoulou, the witness stated that the creation of places of worship is undertaken after a joint decision in areas where many Muslim immigrants reside. A renting contract is signed with the proprietor of the building who knows what the building will be used for, and the police and ministry of education and religious affairs are notified. To another question concerning the various dogmas of Muslim religion and the possibility that the arsons are the work of Muslims belonging to a rival dogma, the witness stated that not a single mosque has ever been burned in Greece by faithful of a different dogma.
Responding to another question about the stance of the police relating to charges that have been filed by Pakistanis about the Greek Police, the witness stated that when the same thing happens dozens or hundreds of times the victims can do nothing else but press charges. He also said that some policemen do an excellent job, while others, such as Giovanidis and Mamalakis, beat up immigrants and ask for money or steal their merchandise. Finally he said that there are police officers who have stated that they are Golden Dawn.
Responding to another question the witness said that he has received death threats and that the cause of the attacks is the racism that the assailants harbor for the victims. He also talked about the escalation of racist attacks and that he himself understood what racism means before 2010, when they were simply beating them up and called them trash, while after 2011, when the stabbings started, he learned what fascism means. Responding to another question about the position of women in Muslim faith he said that women are free to do as they please and denied that Muslims beat women.


IV. Examination of witness Salum Francis (former president of the Tanzanian community in Greece)
A. Examination by the members of the court

The witness testified, interrupted with questions by the members of the court, that on September 25th, 2012, he received a phone call by a few of his countrymen who were in the offices of the Tanzanian community and told him that their life was in danger from a group of people that were trying to get into the offices by force. The witness stated that the police handled the matter. When they saw the police the assailants quickly made their escape, and the victims got out safely from the basement of the building where they had taken cover. Later on the same day the offices of the Tanzanian community were destroyed. The witness said that he saw a video of this particular incident, in which can be seen outside the offices a group of people that are holding wooden bats and wear shirts emblazoned with swastikas. He also said that a month later someone placed dynamite in the offices but no one was there at the time of the explosion and so no one was hurt. As for Golden Dawn’s involvement in attacks against immigrants he said that personally he knows nothing more than what he’s heard in the media, and that the only thing he can add for the benefit of the court is that on the day that he went to the police station to testify he found there a gathered crowd that was hostile against him and that among them was a Golden Dawn MP, who was helped to escape by a woman police officer.


B. Examination by the civil action counsels

Responding to questions by civil action counsels Kabagiannis, Zotos, Theodoropoulos, Malagaris, Papadopoulou, and Tobatzoglou, the witness stated that when the dynamite exploded at the door of the offices of the Tanzanian community, the witness stated that he and someone named Patrick, whose business had been damaged on the same day, went to the Agios Panteleimonas police station to report the incident. In the office of the officer of duty was a Golden Dawn MP who was conversing with the two suspects detained for the bombing who, according to Patrick, were the same that had earlier damaged his business. The witness did not speak Greek too well and could not say what the MP was telling the suspects. The witness also said that until Patrick pointed him out, the witness didn’t know that the man was a Golden Dawn MP. The witness was asked to describe the MP and he was shown photographs. The witness stated that the MP, whose name he didn’t know, was tall, muscular, with a shaved head, and the witness went on to point Panagiotaros in a photograph and said that he was the MP that was in the precinct at the time of the testimony. He also said that chaos reigned outside the police station, where a crowd had gathered, hostile towards immigrants, towards the victims and the witnesses of the attack. The crowd threw rocks at the counsel that was representing them. The MP, according to the witness, left after him, escorted by police. Responding to another question about the behavior of the members of the Tanzanian community in Athens, he said that he doesn’t believe that any of his countrymen have ever bothered anyone and that they don’t listen to loud music, as it is claimed, neither do they defecate and urinate in the streets. The members of the community are good people, the witness said, and the community organizes theatre performances that teach their children, who live and grow up in Greece, the traditions and civilization of Africa.
At this point the presiding judge adjourned for Friday, March 3rd, 2017, at 09:00, in the Court of Appeals.