187th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, October 5th, 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.
II. Presence of defendants
None of the defendants was present at the hearing.
III. Testimony of witness Dimitrios Psarras continues
A. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels
The witness answered questions in turn by defense counsels Papadellis, Roussopoulos, Alexiadis, Mataliotakis, Kassis (P.), Karydomatis, and Tsagas.
Responding to a relevant question the witness stated that the orders given by Michaloliakos and Kasidiaris are turned into facts, such as the pogrom in Agios Panteleimonas in 2011 and the admonition towards their followers to practice “krypteia”. The witness explained that the reason these activities are public constitutes the main contradiction of Golden Dawn, which is based in its “doublespeak”. The witness clarified that he was not present in any of the murders in order to bring to the attention of the court new information, but he is here to testify as an expert witness, since he has been following Golden Dawn for years and knows how it operates. He mentioned the first memorandum of association, the “Protesilaos” document, etc. According to the witness, these documents are not in circulation anymore, along with certain ideological articles that had been available in the site of Golden Dawn, but have been taken down.
As for the first memorandum of association, the witness explained that he thought that the request that Michaloliakos put forth to the investigator in order to make the witness produce his copy was a stalling tactic, since ten months earlier the witness had shown the original document to state prosecutor Vourliotis and had deposited a copy. In light of the above, the witness thought that the request was meant to stall the investigation and, for this reason, he reserved his right to show the original document in court.
The witness stated that at the magazine Scholiastis he was working with G. Pitouropoulos, Ch. Vernardaki, Vourna, Ch. Lazaridi, etc. Among the people that had published articles in the magazine were T. Christodoulopoulou and R. Polle, and commentators from every part of the political spectrum – except Golden Dawn. As for the content of his books the witness stated that they contain nothing that hasn’t already been published in newspapers. The case file of the present trial was put together in 2013, while the material he has gathered goes back much more than that.
When asked whether he has cross-checked his sources with sources in Golden Dawn itself, the witness stated that he believes it’s impossible to hold a dialogue with neo-Nazi fanatics, especially since they’ve started using violence. He also added that he had been a member of the coordinating committee of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising, so he would never sit down and talk with Michaloliakos, Tsapouris, and all the others who were murdering people at the Polytechnic. He was adamant that the opinion expressed by Papadimitriou, a journalist for SKAI TV, in the summer of 2013, concerning the possibility of a government coalition including “a better version” of Golden Dawn was “wrong in every respect”.
The witness denied that Golden Dawn was his sole research interest: It’s merely 1% of his work, as he has dealt with many major issues over the years. The witness stated that he has received death threats from Golden Dawn, they said that they would lynch him and they also published his photograph. When asked if he has condemned the murder of two members of Golden Dawn in Irakleio in 2013, he said that the murders were an abominable crime. He also added that the family of one of the murdered members had gone to court to stop Golden Dawn from using his name.
Furthermore, the witness explained that Golden Dawn aspires to monetary gain, something that is indicated by the attack against the members of PAME and the founding of a labor union in the Perama Shipping Yards, which was promoting the interests of the employers. If that was the only labor union in the Zone, it would work for the benefit of the employers. Golden Dawn has said that it is against strikes, and has said that it will put a stop to them and that it will lower wages. The organization would then benefit from the employers. It should be noted that Golden Dawn voted against a law proposed by the government of Samaras that would force shipping moguls to pay more taxes. As for the financing of Golden Dawn, he stated that “it’s a mysterious matter. Michaloliakos himself has said that he gave private lessons of Mathematics in order to finance the operations of the organization. That’s not possible, there are obviously other sources of income”.
IV. Statements concerning the witness testimonies under article 358 CCP:
A. Examination by the civil action counsels
Civil action counsels Papadopoulou, Kabagiannis, Sapountzakis, Malagaris, and Stratis commented on the testimonies of the previous 37 witnesses under article 358 CCP.
According to civil action counsel Papadopoulou, in order to confirm the crime of participation in a criminal organization we don’t need to have an order for every crime, the perpetrator must simply submit his will to that of the organization – something that was shown by the testimony of Tsimboukakis etc. The testimonies of Georgousis, Yfantis etc. concerning the raids of Golden Dawn in Agios Panteleimonas showed that they were obviously planned in advance, since there were TV cameras and MPs present. The witnesses in question confirmed the vast increase of violent incidents. Psarras was the only one who realized the danger of Golden Dawn as far back as 1990, when Golden Dawn first took to the streets. The same witness stated how the first memorandum of association came in his possession, that Golden Dawn sent it to him, because it was the only way to promote the organization at the time, when they were virtually unknown. It is authentic, because an identical organizational chart was found in Pappas’ house in Ioannina, it bears a stamp and signature, and Kasidiaris has more than once mentioned probate members and other terms which can be found only in the memorandum that was brought to court by witness Psarras. Golden Dawn was holding its conventions according to this first memorandum’s rules, and referred to its articles. They are trying to hide it, because it mentions the Führerprinzip and is clearly Nazi.
According to the counsel, if the defendants wore Hitler uniforms and just gathered among themselves there would have been no grounds for prosecution. But now that the organization has taken to the streets things are very different, and there have already been more than 20 convictions which prove it. As Psarras showed, Golden Dawn used “doublespeak”: On the one hand Michaloliakos says that Golden Dawners must abide by the law, and on the other he plays to violence. Golden Dawn participated for the first time in the elections of 1994, because that was the way to gain the protection accorded to a political party. The doublespeak shows also the organization’s double identity: It is both a political party and a criminal organization. Article 187 CCP stipulates that the intention to commit a crime is sufficient, let alone when crimes have been committed. When Moros was asked what is the meaning of the word “pogrom”, he said “what we did every Saturday night, when we went out and beat up immigrants”: He learned this in Golden Dawn, not in school, since he dropped out before high school. According to Stavrou, Golden Dawn has no connection to the far right, the junta, the 4th of August: Its only model is Hitler’s NSDAP and its goals, in accordance with the Führerprinzip.
Psarras discussed the immunity accorded to Golden Dawn by the media and the political establishment “even though they wore the swastikas on their sleeves”. The message of Golden Dawn is violence against everyone, and it escalated this message in 2013: against PAME, against the Egyptian fishermen, and the culmination was the murder of Fyssas.
According to civil action counsel Kabagiannis, we can observe an organized expansion of the criminal organization, based on its Nazi ideology, as is mentioned in the judicial decision. The deciding factor is the organized, deployed Golden Dawn groups – their “assault squads”. Otherwise there would be no crime. Agios Panteleimonas was left to become a ghetto and so was used by Golden Dawn to promote its own ends. It was well known in the square that Golden Dawn was making clean-up operations.
The civil action counsel mentioned the testimonies of Georgousis and Papadopoulos. The civil action counsel discussed Golden Dawn’s racist violence without referring to every witness by name, but pictured them forming a pyramid. According to this, at the base there are the statistical recordings of incidents of racist violence. In the middle lie the charges brought eponymously concerning incidents of racist violence by victims etc. At the top of the pyramid are the incidents of racist violence that have resulted in convictions. These last are far fewer due to the inactivity of the police and the lack of a legal framework up to 2014, when many of the victims didn’t even go to the police stations to press charges. Baskakis mentioned a video showing Michaloliakos saying that anyone passing outside the offices of Golden Dawn should either be running or not have any opportunity to start running. Boukouras, as many witnesses testified, was the commander of an assault squad in Korinthos – something that was confirmed from the interview that Manavis gave to Papadopoulos.
The most significant testimony, according to the counsel, was that of Stavrou, a former MP candidate for Golden Dawn. His was an especially illuminating testimony, mentioning his swearing in ceremony under the flag of the Third Reich, etc. It was shown that he was a very intelligent person. His testimony was made eponymously, something that is very important.
According to civil action counsel Sapountzakis, the witnesses gave shocking testimonies, which perfectly illustrate the criminal element of Golden Dawn. Grypiotis, a prominent member of New Democracy, discussed the inhuman and racist tactics of Golden Dawn in the village of Skala Lakonias, where they brought in the Nikaia assault squad in order to drive off the Roma. Mayor [of Athens] Kaminis was very clear in his own testimony that Golden Dawn is a criminal organization, that the organization is the same as the party and that they both have the same leadership. Katrivanou said that, in her opinion as a legal expert, the activities of Golden Dawn fall under article 187 CCP and, discussing the statement of Michaloliakos with which he assumed the political responsibility for the murder of Fyssas, she believes it is the same as assuming the penal responsibility for the crime. Raptis proved that the vandalisms in the Jewish cemetery of Ioannina were perpetrated by Golden Dawn. Furthermore, the defense counsels tried to discredit Stavrou, who was very composed when he was testifying. It was Stavrou who testified that Nationalism-Socialism is the hidden ideology of Golden Dawn and that everything else is a mask, a lie. Psarras gave valuable information about Golden Dawn, from its inception until the present moment.
According to civil action counsel Malagaris, saying that the activities of Golden Dawn aim at the protection of the residents is entirely wrong, something which was shown by the testimony of Grypiotis. He went on to discuss the hierarchy and structure of the organization. The documentary by Georgousis shows the party’s Nazi ideology. The civil action counsel based his comments on the testimonies of Zabelis, Kaminis, Pisimisis, Kemmou, Katrivanou, Moros, Ntonas, Papadopoulos, Papachelas, Pnevmatikos, etc. He pointed out that according to Stavrou there is no other way to put it: Golden Dawn is a criminal organization and its model is the German Nazi party in 1943-1945. And that when Golden Dawners give the Nazi salute they’re not thinking of Aristotelis, but of Hitler and Rudolph Hess. The activities of Golden Dawn are a direct result of the Nazi ideology. The counsel went on to discuss the testimonies by Christopoulos and Psarras and ended his comments by saying that “the defendants are Nazis since birth”.
Finally, civil action counsel Stratis referred to the incidents at Agios Panteleimonas and the relevant testimonies. He discussed the testimony of Mayor Kaminis, where he said that the widow of Kantaris did not accept a wreath offered to her by Golden Dawn. The testimony of Kardaras confirmed the suspicion that Golden Dawn has infiltrated the ranks of the police. According to Katrivanou, the goal of Golden Dawn is the overthrow of the rule of law. Kourkoulas recounted a few incidents while Kouveli discussed the modus operandi of the assault squads. Photojournalist Liakos described the violent attack against two of his colleagues. The civil action counsel went on to mention the testimonies of Baskakis and Psarras, and made it clear that the witnesses that had been called to the witness stand had no prior differences with Golden Dawn, and that “violence is the message”. The counsel also mentioned the witness testimonies by Pisimisis, Pnevmatikos, Andrianakos, Spourdalaki, Yfantis, and Tsimboukakis. As for the testimony of Stavrou, the counsel noted how the defense did not question him on matters of substance, but only on the ideology of Golden Dawn. The witness counsel ended his commentary by stating that he believes that Golden Dawn is a Nazi organization.
V. Motion by the defense counsels
When witness Psarras finished his testimony, defense counsel Roussopoulos motioned to dismiss the testimony under article 350 CCP, because according to him the witness was not objective [:because he is acquainted with civil action counsel Kabagiannis and because they have participated together in various events].
At this point the presiding judge adjourned for October 10th, 2017, at the Court of Appeals, when the trial will proceed under article 358 CCP with the comments on the testimonies of the previous 37 witnesses, by the civil action counsels and the defense counsels.