148th Hearing, Court of Appeals, April 27th, 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. Many journalists and spectators showed up in court today.
ΙΙ. Presence and representation of the defendants
None of the defendants was present at the hearing.
Witness Maria Troulou was called to the stand to testify about the attack against her person in the island of Paros.
ΙV. Testimony of witness Troulou
A. Examination by the members of the court
Responding to questions by the members of the court, the witness stated that she is a kindergarten teacher, but for the past two years she has been working as a secretary in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and that she is currently pursuing her doctorate studies. In the school year of 2012-2013 she was working as a substitute kindergarten teacher in Naousa, Paros.
Up until then Golden Dawn did not have a local chapter in the island, but there were talks underway. On March 28th, 2013, following a call by the Paros antifascist initiative, she participated, along with many other teachers, in an event to protest the arrival of Golden Dawn MPs and supporters in order to cut the New Year’s cake.
The witness initially went to the “House of the Teacher”, where a documentary was screened, titled The Serpent’s Egg. She then went to the site of the event, which was attended by about 500 people from various political parties, members of the municipal council, even parents of her pupils. When the event was over, the call was put out over the microphone to march towards the “Paros” taverna, where members of Golden Dawn were cutting the New Year’s cake. About 150 persons, adolescents and adults, among them witness Troulou with her friend, Savvas Mavridis, answered the call. The police had cut off access through the main street, so the march went through the narrow side-alleys. As they were going forth and night was falling, those at the head of the march came face to face with units of riot police, and started to pull back. In order to save herself from the riot policemen, who were hitting people in the legs even as they were retreating, she tried to escape by jumping over the fence and into the veranda of a ground floor house, where two men dressed in black were waiting stock still. At that point someone from outside the veranda caught her hair and banged her head on the wall. The hit caused her to lose her senses. Then, she heard Mavridis call her name and pull her to her feet, and she was hit once more with a metal object, which made a gash on her head but also managed to bring her to her senses. She looked at her assailant and managed to make out his facial characteristics, helped by the streetlight. He was muscular, about 6’ 2’’ tall, and wore a shirt and jacket, had greying temples, a dimple in his chin, and was shouting incoherently. Mavridis was behind her when she was hit and tried to pull her away from the assailant, who grabbed him by the backpack. Riot police then arrived and tried to separate them, hitting the assailant at the hands to let her go, and Mavridis in the ribs. The witness stated that she doesn’t know whether the men in black clothes hit her too, but she believes they weren’t part of the march, or else they would have let them go. Next, came a policeman who helped her and Mavridis leave the spot, and while they were getting off the pavement her friend was hit again from an unknown perpetrator who was running. The policeman left them at the parking lot, where they were given first aid by a doctor, and a woman gave them a ride to the Paroikia Health Center.
She needed ten stitches on her head, and also had a fracture. At the Health Center they asked the witness and her friend if they wanted to be transferred by helicopter to Athens, but they refused. Many people had gathered at the Health Center, because Mavridis is a resident of the island and a well-known music professor. Among the people that had come was a journalist by the newspaper “Voice of Paros”, who showed her on his tablet a few photos he had taken earlier. She recognized in these the man that had hit her, who, as the journalist informed her, was [:Golden Dawn] MP Michos. After an hour and a half -and after an intervention by the mayor- the police arrived. Mavridis didn’t want to press charges, but the witness testified to the state prosecutor after consulting a lawyer, without naming the MP, and limited herself to describing him, and pressed charges against person or persons unknown. Later they went to the port in a patrol car, in order to identify the assailants among the Golden Dawn members that were departing the island, but found no one. The policemen told them to go on their own the next day, but they didn’t go. The witness maintained the police was obstructing the investigation and that the police officer was constantly interjecting during her testimony. No photos were shown to her by the police officers. A Dutch journalist who has been living and working in the island for years, and who was also attacked and his camera was smashed, showed her photographs of the Golden Dawners arriving at the island, but he didn’t want to testify, out of fear.
Later, after a journalist for the newspaper “Ethnos” called her, Troulou decided to grant an interview, thinking that publicity would help. Responding to questions by the state prosecutor, Troulou said that she did not take matters further, because she was swayed by the fact that at the time Kasidiaris was acquitted in the Dialynas case, and a false witness could appear in court and she could end up accused of defamation.
Β. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels
Responding to questions by the civil action, the witness stated that the Golden Dawners wanted to harm them and put them “in the ground”, and said that the island of Paros has its own rhythms, and is multicultural in character. She criticized the way the police behaved, saying that she was given the impression that the police had come to protect Golden Dawn and its supporters, given that two riot police units had come to the island, as well as police officers, who acted as guards for the Golden Dawners.
She described the fear she felt for long after the incident and said that the murder of Fyssas made her testify everything she knew about this particular case. She also referred to the Nazi symbols of Golden Dawn, such as flags with swastikas, slogans, and the tattoos on some of its members.
The witness also mentioned the phrases heard in the video that was found in the cellphone of Kazantzoglou that was confiscated, “Michos went there to raise hell”, “they were running to the sea like hares”, and said that the defendants were boasting about the victims of the assault that were running away.
She stressed that the local community was very supportive [:to the people that had come under attack], since she had to take ten days leave off work, while mayor Vlachogiannis expressed his solidarity in an announcement he made. The witness also referred to the fear she felt because she had recognized a leading member of Golden Dawn as the assailant.
Tensions mounted when civil action counsel Kabagiannis motioned to record in the trial minutes the phrase that was heard from the defense counsels, “You were fine!”, when the witness testified that she took 10 days leave off work after the attack on her person. The motion under article 141, par. 1, CCP, was then submitted in writing and was overruled.
When shown photos the witness identified the site of the attack, which she went to on the day after the incident, as well as Michos, in the photo she was shown by the journalist. She stated that she submitted a CD to the investigative judges, which was full of photos and material she had found on the internet. According to the witness there was no arrest on the day of the incident, and also said that no resident of Paros was ever identified among the assailants.
C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels
Responding to questions by the defense counsels, the witness stated that the mayor of Paros wanted to express his opinion on the unprovoked attack, since no one had known in advance about what was going to follow. Following the attack the witness was scared, even though they had been warned by persons that had experience of protest marches in Athens. She wanted to go to the port with the police, because she thought that she could identify Michos in the presence of the police.
She stated that she gave a written and signed testimony to the state prosecutor in the Health Center. She also identified in other photos the square where the protest took place, and the restaurant that the New Year’s cake event took place. She also identified Michos, who spoke in the taverna on that night wearing a sweater.
Concerning the time of the attack, she said that she saw Michos when he raised her head, and that she can’t say who it was that hit her with the metal object. She insisted that she gave a detailed description of the assailant in her Paros testimony, and that she was attacked with a baton. She claimed that she could have been attacked because, as a woman who speaks her mind, she is an easy target. Finally, she said that she doesn’t know if another incident took place earlier, apart from a verbal exchange in the square.
The presiding judge adjourned for Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017, at 09:00, in the Court of Appeals.