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DAY 172: “EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT THEY WERE OUT TO HUNT IMMIGRANTS”

172nd Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, July 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. There were few spectators and journalists in court today.

II. Presence and representation of the defendants

None of the defendants was present at the hearing.

ΙΙΙ. Proceedings

The hearing commenced with the testimony of witness Moros Georgios, who testified about how he was attacked on three separate occasions by members of Golden Dawn in Kallithea, and then continued with the testimony of Ilias Donas, former deputy mayor of Oichalia, concerning the incident at Meligalas.

ΙV. Testimony of witness Georgios Moros

Responding to questions by the members of the court, the witness stated that he has been unemployed since 2014, and before that he was working as a warehouse employee in a supermarket. The presiding judge first pointed out to witness Moros the differences between his three testimonies, and the witness started by saying that in 1998, when he was 15 years old, he met a 25-year-old named Nikos Manis, who was into the skinhead music scene. He was a nationalist socialist and a Nazi, although back then he did not belong to any party. They were friends for about two years and Manis started converting the witness. The witness went with him for about six months to the Golden Dawn headquarters, who back then was in Solomou Street. The witness maintained that he didn’t like the goings-on in there, and did not agree with slogans such as “Foreigners out of Greece” since his mother isn’t Greek. He put an end to the friendship with that person, who continued to associate with Golden Dawn, and the witness totally reversed course and participated in the antiracist movement, without further problems.

In 2013 a Greek-American named Steven came to Kallithea, where the witness is a resident, who formed with a few other people a neo-Nazi group that started converting people to their cause. In the summer of 2013 this group made pogroms and beat up immigrants, kids with long hair, and others. The witness was attacked three times in 2013, and before that they had spray-painted slogans on the walls of his house, calling him a traitor and threatening him. Moros was first attacked by four people with shaved heads who followed him, and who had the code tattoos “14” and “88” which showed that they were neo-Nazis. They surrounded him and started hitting him. He defended himself against the two of them, but the third one knocked him out with a beer bottle to the head. He had seven stitches and from then he has suffered from epileptic seizures.

He was next attacked in March or April 2013, while he was walking his dog, near the haunt of the Nazis. He was beaten up by three people and they broke his teeth. Finally, in mid-July 2013, during a hip-hop concert in an anti-racist festival, he was stabbed three times. About 15 antifascists had been assigned to guard the perimeter of the venue, wearing helmets and holding wooden bats, and they were standing around the people who had come to watch the concert. At some point the witness heard the explosion of a Molotov bomb and saw the light from the explosion. About 20 people arrived, wearing black shirts that had slogans such as “Golden Dawn or ash” or the meander logo. There was an altercation between these persons and the people guarding the perimeter. The witness tried to take away the children and old people that were watching the concert, when he was stabbed three times from behind, one of the cuts made in such a way that it couldn’t be stitched closed and he had to spend two months in bed.

The witness testified that he didn’t see the face of the man that had stabbed him, since he was stabbed from behind, however he did see Steven in the concert grounds, who had his face covered by a helmet, but could be made out by the telltale tattoo he had on the neck. The witness saw him bang a car with a chain and hurl insults. In order to explain the differences between his various testimonies the witness said that he has been taking medication for depression, but he can vouch for everything that he’s testifying in court today. He went on to say that in October of the same year he went with an antifascist group and attacked the Golden Dawners in their own space, in order to terrorize them, but not the young kids that had been brainwashed, as he said.

Responding to questions by the state prosecutor the witness said that the police did nothing during the concert and were just waiting across the street from the concert grounds. He said that Steven’s tattoo was Nazi in nature, and said that he has one more tattoo on the cheek, which depicts a spider web. The witness mentioned that Golden Dawn collected their photos from their facebook accounts and then posted them on a site called webwar, and also that he didn’t press charges for his injuries because he believes that the police is on the side of Golden Dawn.

Responding to questions by the deputy state prosecutor, he said that when he frequented the Golden Dawn headquarters in Solomou Street, he had heard Golden Dawners boasting of violent deeds. He mentioned the pogroms unleashed every Saturday night when they beat up immigrants, in the areas around Athens and in Fylis.

Responding to questions by the civil action counsels he said that the concert organizers had not made any provocations, and that the objective of the attack was to end the concert. Concerning Steven he said that along with one other person he had attacked two immigrant women and had stolen their mobile phones, as the witness read online, and he hasn’t seen him again since then. the witness believes that Steven has left the country. When asked about the tattoo of the number 88 he said that the number 8 corresponds to the letter H, eighth in the alphabet, and that 88 denotes “Heil Hitler”. He supported that Manis decided to get the kids every Saturday night and go out to hunt immigrants, and that the leadership of Golden Dawn not only did not disapprove, but almost “promoted in the ranks” the people that carried out these attacks.

Responding to questions by the defense counsels the witness said that the investigator had shown him a photograph of a Molotov such as the one that had been thrown during the concert, and that he learned the things about Steven from his friends, and that he later searched on the internet on his own. When asked how he defines the word “pogrom” the witness said that it is pure violence, and that this he learned from Golden Dawn, which was “to go out and beat up immigrants that are taking our jobs”.

When asked about the period that he frequented the offices of Golden Dawn, the witness said that they were going there three times a week and that back then he opposed violence because he was young and did not have experience with these things. Responding to another question he said that he was diagnosed with depression in 2012 and that he gave his previous testimonies while medicated. Responding to another question he said that Steven is on good terms with Golden Dawn and that he organizes concerts with his band for the benefit of Golden Dawn. The witness ruled out the possibility that he might have been stabbed by members of the antifascist group that were guarding the concert, since he had passed through them to enter, and insisted that the assailants were fascists, and pointed out that when he turned around he saw that the perpetrator wore a cap turned backwards emblazoned with the Golden Dawn logo.

V. Testimony of witness Ilias Donas

Responding to questions by the presiding judge the witness said that he is self-employed and that in the period 2011-2014 he was a deputy mayor in the Municipality of Oichalia, when Mr. Bamis [:a previous witness in this trial] was mayor. They had participated in the elections as an independent coalition, and their opponent was the New Democracy candidate, Ms. Aliferi. He went on to speak about the memorial service for the fallen of the Meligalas Well, which is held every year and is organized by the victims’ society, and the mayor is called to speak, as well as the president of the Society, and usually a professor who talks about the historical facts surrounding the incident. According to the witness, Golden Dawn in 2013 had offered in writing to do maintenance work at the site, pledging a sum of about €15,000. The witness, as deputy mayor in charge of construction works, supported this proposal in the municipal council, but only if the works were overseen by the municipal engineering department. However the proposal was not approved by the municipal council, 18 against to 4 for.

About 1,500 people attended the 2013 memorial service, and the Golden Dawn members were about 500-600, and arrived on the site with about 30 buses. Among them were MPs such as Panagiotaros, Kasidiaris, Koukoutsis, and others. Donas arrived later but saw on TV persons wearing Golden Dawn shirts and holding Greek flags, forming ranks. When the mayor spoke and said that here we want to forget and mentioned oblivion, Panagiotaros, who was holding a megaphone, shouted “You idiot, what are you talking about”, “You are a mayor appointed by Samaras”, moved towards the mayor and took from him the mic. The mayor left the site escorted by security, while Donas remained. Panagiotaros gave the microphone to Kasidiaris, who spoke about “a mayor appointed by Samaras and that elephant, Venizelos”. The witness left the scene when he saw Kasidiaris give the order to the local chapters of Perama and others to deposit a wreath.

He confirmed what he had mentioned in his preliminary testimony, that the municipal leadership was thrown out by force, since neither the mayor or the deputy mayor were permitted to deposit a wreath.
Responding to a relevant question by the presiding judge he said that the memorial service was poorly attended the next years, and the buses that brought people to the service did not allow people wearing camo clothes.
Responding to questions by the state prosecutor, the deputy mayor said that there was no violence, only improper behavior by Kasidiaris and Panagiotaros. Only when some of the gathered people tried to take the mic from Kasidiaris, someone was pushed to the ground. According to Donas, the police did not interfere even when Kasidiaris took the microphone, despite the fact that many plainclothes policemen were there and units of riot police were stationed just outside. The witness said that the mayor was instructed to leave by his security detail, but he doesn’t believe that if he stayed they would have hurt him.

Responding to a relevant question by the deputy state prosecutor the witness stated that the members of Golden Dawn came out of the buses and were walking in formation, marching like an army detachment. He also stated that Kasidiaris directed the march, like he had seen him do on TV.

Finally, responding to questions by the civil action counsels, Donas said that the mayor saw that they had taken the mic away from him and that the residents of the area were trying to get it back. The witness stated that the municipal council issued a press release that condemned the incident involving Panagiotaros and Kasidiaris, and he said that he didn’t see Golden Dawn attack the LA.O.S. youth league. Concerning the activities of Golden Dawn, the witness stated that he hasn’t witnessed anything untoward, only what he’s seen on TV, and that Golden Dawn is a parliamentary party, which he would place on the right side of the political spectrum. Concerning the maintenance that Golden Dawn wanted to fund, the witness stated, unlike mayor Bamis, that the municipal engineering department did not oppose it.

After he was shown a few photographs from the site of the memorial service, the witness confirmed that the Golden Dawners wore uniform clothes and camo pants, like in the army, and said that this could have been a random occurrence. He also confirmed that Belos, a candidate with Golden Dawn, had made a speech the previous year during the memorial service and repeated that the police was present inside the site of the event.