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DAY 145: “CREATING A CLIMATE OF TENSION”

145th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, April 11th, 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, and there was the usual number of police officers.

 

ΙΙ. Presence of defendants

 

None of the defendants was present at the hearing.

 

ΙΙΙ. Testimony of witness Fragomichelakis

 

A. Examination by the members of the court

 

Responding to questions by the presiding judge the witness stated that he is a retired police officer, and that at the time of the incident in front of the Belvedere Hotel, in 2012, he was the police commissioner in Heraklion, Crete. He reported that they had been alerted to the Golden Dawn event the day before, from the Indymedia site, where a call had gone out for a counter-demonstration. Alerted, the police had taken security measures, including riot police units and about 150 policemen, not only around the hotel, but at the Golden Dawn offices as well. He also stated that that same morning the Golden Dawn side was showing signs of vexation, Kasidiaris in particular but some other members as well, concerning the presence of the anarchists nearby. Their dissatisfaction reached its peak around noon, when the anarchists arrived, about 250-300 people from Hersonisos, holding flags and chanting anti-GD slogans, though keeping a distance of at least 100 meters from the riot police units, stayed for about 40 minutes, and left without causing any trouble. On the other side, [:Golden Dawn MPs] Barbaroussis, Michos, and Pappas were showing clear signs of dissatisfaction, while Kasidiaris was conversing in strained tones with the chief officer present, Mr. Fragomichelakis himself, who tried to explain to him that the Police was responsible for the security of the location and urged the MP to get his followers inside and proceed with their event. More specifically, before the anarchists even arrived, Kasidiaris told the police commissioner that there was damage done to cars and that the Police does nothing, saying “they are smashing stuff and you’re playing with your dicks”. The witness also stated that later, in the evening, he read on the internet that Kasidiaris had said to Pantagakis that “there will be dead people by nightfall”, however the witness himself, despite being in the vicinity, never heard anything like that. When asked if he heard any of the MPs say “If you can’t drive them away, we will”, he said no, but said that Kasidiaris was demeaning to the police force in general. He also said that Kasidiaris was followed by about 70 people, either out of curiosity or because they wanted to participate in the event. Next he was asked what he meant when he said in his preliminary testimony that the MP’s statements were made to create a hostile climate, and said that later in the evening he saw that the MP mentioned all these things when nothing had happened and nobody knew who had smashed the windows of the coast guard vehicle. Consequently, just hearing these things creates a climate of tension. He went on to add that the event proceeded as planned and that the other MPs expressed their dissatisfaction without insulting him. He also said that he didn’t hear Kasidiaris saying “There will be dead people”, neither did he saw any cameras in the vicinity at the time.

 

B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels

 

The witness answered questions in turn by civil action counsels Sapountzakis, Theodoropoulos, Vrettos, Malagaris, Tzellis, Papadopoulou, Tobatzoglou, and Kabagiannis. He testified that what Kasidiaris had said was insulting to the witness himself as well as to the police force in general, however, despite the climate of tension that this created, he couldn’t tell what the MP was trying to achieve by the threat “I’ll fuck them all, there will be dead people by nightfall” and if it was serious, if he really was going to do it. When asked if he has seen on TV Kasidiaris behaving in a similar fashion, he said that he doesn’t watch much TV and that he doesn’t dwell on things that don’t interest him. He also testified that he didn’t know about the Vainia case, and also that from time to time they tell him various things, but he didn’t hear anything about the Golden Dawn attack in Zaro. He also isn’t informed of other similar instances of Golden Dawn members behaving in such a way towards other police officers, and that he knows that this trial is deliberating criminal offenses, but he doesn’t know what the charges are. When asked how did he stop the Golden Dawn group, he said that he put a line of policemen in front of them, and that Kasidiaris demanded that the anarchists be arrested so that the counter-demonstration could not take place.

 

C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels

 

The witness was questioned in turn by defense counsels Dimitrakopoulos, Tsagas, Zografos, Aggeletos, Michalolias N., Papadellis, Roussopoulos, and Alexiadis. The witness stated that the goal of the counter-demonstration was to express its own ideology, that the anarchists stayed at a distance of 100 meters and never came closer, and that there was a serious danger of violence had the police not taken all necessary measures. He testified that anarchists were holding flags affixed to thick wooden bats and the reason why the policemen didn’t check for weapons was that they didn’t have many police officers at their disposal and so were content to observe, since the anarchists didn’t cause any trouble. When asked how deterring was the counter-demonstration to someone that wanted to attend the Golden Dawn event, the witness stated that he couldn’t say how each person would react to such a thing. He went on to say that they get their information for counter-demonstrations from various sources, only one of which is the internet, and that he can’t say whether Golden Dawn had any intention to commit criminal acts despite the fact that they themselves had notified the police about their event. He also reported that Kasidiaris seemed to be in charge, given that he is an MP and that his followers were listening to his orders. Responding to a relevant question the witness said that he didn’t know if they had ever smashed the Golden Dawn offices in Crete, and that it was the witness who personally notified Golden Dawn about the counter-demonstration and that the MPs left for Heraclion escorted by policemen. Responding to another relevant question the witness said that the Police changes their strategies to suit each incident, and that he wasn’t in any position to speculate about the contents of the anarchists’ backpacks, nor about what happened when Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Heraclion. Finally, he stated that the anarchists were young people and that in his opinion their counter-demonstration was not enough to justify the ire of the Golden Dawn MPs, given that the anarchists caused no problems.

 

IV. Testimony of witness Mourkogiannis

 

A. Examination by the members of the court

 

Responding to questions by the members of the court, the witness stated that he is a policeman and that he is serving at the Missolonghi police precinct since October 2011. On September 8th he was on duty to assist the municipal police with their inspection in the street market that takes place every Tuesday and Saturday. The inspection was handled by the municipal police, and his role was to assist in case of denial, identification purposes etc. On the day in question they had arranged to meet the municipal policemen at 09:00. When he went near the witness saw the policemen conversing with a group of people, among them [:Golden Dawn MP] Barbaroussis. He didn’t see whether these persons were men or women, he saw them 50-100 meters away, and when he parked Baoustanou and Christopoulos, the municipal policemen, came over to him, and reported to him that they were asked by the group of people to escort them in their inspection, something that they refused. The witness also stated that it was him who notified HQ and as he was waiting for instructions, the group went into the street market. HQ notified him that it was out of the question for the policemen to make their inspection escorted by that group. Responding to a question by the presiding judge, concerning the instructions he was waiting for, since the municipal policemen had already refused, and about why they didn’t immediately proceed with their inspection since that was their objective, the witness stated that he must always notify HQ, and waited for his commanding officer to tell him if he was correct. When they were in the street market, as the inspection was nearing its conclusion, he received a phone call by the deputy commissioner who told him that a woman had come to the police station to lodge a complaint about an incident at the street market. The witness hadn’t noticed anything, since up to that point, he had heard no complaints. After the phone call, he left the street market grounds to go back to the police station and bring along his commanding officer. When he was asked why he had to leave the street market to get the deputy commissioner, instead of staying there and investigating the incident, since there was an official complaint, he said that there was no other patrol car available at the time. The complaint concerned damage to street seller stalls. They went the length of the street market but found no street sellers, none of the people present said anything of the sort, and they left. He later saw in the media that the damage was caused by members of Golden Dawn. The witness mentioned that he saw some empty carton boxes, but he didn’t know if they had been used by illegal street sellers as makeshift stalls for their wares. He saw footage of persons kicking over stalls, boxes, these persons were wearing dark clothes, but he didn’t see if their shirts were emblazoned with the words “Golden Dawn”.

 

B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels

 

The witness answered questions in turn by civil action counsels Tobatzoglou, Tzellis, Theodoropoulos, Vrettos, Malagaris, Stratis, Kabagiannis, and Papadakis. He stated that he is not familiar with any other incidents of violent behavior by MP Barbaroussis, and also said that if an MP hadn’t been present he would have forbidden them to enter the street market. The witness also said that he didn’t notice any TV cameras on site and that he thought that Barbaroussis, by his presence alone, was their leader. However, he didn’t see who was their leader when they went into the street market. He also stated that he is not acquainted with police officer Makris, who was the personal guard of Barbaroussis, and that he didn’t watch closely the video that showed the incidents of that day. When asked if it is customary for citizens or MPs to assist with the inspections carried out by the municipal police, the witness stated the he didn’t know.

 

C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels

 

The witness was questioned in turn by defense counsels Kolantzopoulou, Tsagas, Papadellis, and Roussopoulos. When asked, the witness testified that he didn’t notice any criminal behavior from the people present, and he wasn’t approached by street sellers, and no one told them that anything had happened. He also stated that he didn’t speak with Barbaroussis, and that he didn’t see him give or receive any specific orders. After an interjection by the presiding judge, the witness said that from where he was standing he was in no position to see or hear anything. He testified that he doesn’t know of any other political parties that make interventions to uphold the law and that he was notified of the official complaint by his commanding officer. When asked why he included it in his testimony since he had no first-hand knowledge, he said “it was a mistake”. Responding to another question he stated that he didn’t witness any criminal behavior by the Missolonghi MP, and that he can’t remember whether the video that he saw had a TV channel logo.

 

At this point the presiding judge adjourned for Wednesday, April 12th, 2017, at 09:00, in the Women’s Wing of Korydallos Prison.