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DAY 212: this is at the core of Nazi ideology, which Golden Dawn espouses completely”

212nd Hearing, Criminal Appeals Court, January 9th, 2018

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. There were many journalists and spectators in court today.

II. Presence of defendants

None of the defendants was present at the hearing.

III. Testimony of witness Thanasis Diavolakis

A. Examination by the members of the court

The witness works as a high school teacher in a private school. He served as a member of the municipal council of Piraeus from 2010 until 2014 with ANTARSYA. He has never been the target of an attack, but due to his position he has received numerous complaints, and he conveyed many of those cases to the Piraeus municipal council.

The witness’s knowledge about the assault on the Egyptian fishermen comes from what he has read and heard and he attended the protest rally that was held on June 15th, 2012. He was astonished by the ruthlessness of the Golden Dawners, who attacked sleeping people. The witness went on to describe an attack by four Golden Dawners in 2012, which took place in Sotiros St. in Piraeus, against M. Tavoularis and A. Altinou from the Piraeus Antinazi Initiative. Of the four assailants, two were identified, and were convicted in the court of first instance. The attack wasn’t based on any personal differences, but its motives were political, which means that Golden Dawn wanted to terrorize those that participated in the antifa movement. After this attack, like other attacks before it, a rally was organized and the various antinazi initiatives issued their announcements.

Furthermore, the witness discussed more attacks, more specifically: against a mosque in the quarter of Agia Sofia in 2011, against an electoral kiosk of SYRIZA in 2015, against the anarchist community center “Resalto” on January 25th, 2014 etc. A common trait of all these targets is that they are either immigrants or leftists, even nominally. For example, they attacked a student outside the Hotel Savoy in Piraeus because he had long hair.

According to the witness, the Nazi parties have no internal initiatives, they only follow orders and that’s how “we get to the leader”. That’s what happened in the murder of P. Fyssas, as can be seen from the phone exchanges that have leaked online, as well as during the attack on the Egyptian fishermen.

B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels

The witness answered questions in turn by civil action counsels Kabagiannis, Skarmeas, Papadakis, Papadopoulou, Stratis, and Sapountzakis.

Among other things, the witness stated that the incidents that he described involved groups of 15-25 Golden Dawners, which acted like a military unit, and attacked much smaller groups (3-4 people). As for the stance of the police on the years between 2010 and 2014, the witness stated that the police absence is glaring in every incident and moreover they were the ones that dissuaded victims from pressing charges on Golden Dawn. For example, when the aforementioned student in Piraeus went to the police station to report the attack, the police officers told him that it wasn’t a racist attack, because the student was Greek, and that “he better cut his hair to avoid similar attacks in the future”.

These attacks were discussed in the Piraeus municipal council, but the members didn’t reach a majority in order to issue an official statement. According to the witness this stance encourages the actions of Golden Dawn and so they get repeated. The attacks on the Egyptian fishermen, as well as the members of SYRIZA, were carried out right before the election, since this is the way that “Golden Dawn enacts an election campaign. They want to show that they control the area, that they can strike immigrants, antifascists, leftists. They want to show that they have power.” After they entered parliament, things took a turn for the worse.

C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels

The witness was examined in turn by defense counsels Michalolias T., Karydomatis, Tsagas, Michalolias G., Roussopoulos, and Oplantzakis.

Among other things, the witness testified that he knows personally Abuzheed Embarak, whom he met at the rally after the attack. It was him that asked the witness to come and testify in court.

According to the witness, the murder of Fyssas was ordered by Michaloliakos, something that can be inferred by the phone communication between the cell leader and the leadership of Golden Dawn in order to realize the attack. The witness certified that the pertinent conversations can easily be found online. It should be noted here that defense counsel Michalolias T. stated that in his opinion the witness has not taken the oath, because he took a political oath and not a religious one.

According to the witness, Golden Dawn “is against the memorandums only in theory. They are trying to take advantage the people’s discontent. This is what the NSDAP had done to find itself in the higher echelons of political power”.

IV. Testimony of witness Katerina Thoidou

A. Examination by the members of the court

The witness is a journalist and was working for the newspaper Workers’ Solidarity since 2000. She is now a temporary worker in a blood donation center. Since 2014 she is a member of the Nikaia-Rentis municipal council, for ANTARSYA.

The witness was informed about the attack on the Egyptian fishermen on the day after the incident took place. According to the witness, this was a Nazi-style attack and it shook the neighbors in the area. As she said, “the attack took place at night and there is nothing more savage than getting attacked while you sleep”.

The witness has witnessed a Golden Dawn attack in Pireaus, which was carried out by Apostolou and Saloufas – who were prosecuted and convicted. According to the witness, Altinou and Tavoularis were injured. Furthermore, on June 15th, 2012, four Golden Dawners attacked a man from Pakistan, Ch. Moultazar, while he was riding his bicycle. At the time, the witness was a coordinator for the Nikaia section of KEERFA and that’s why she was informed right away. When the doctors examined the victim they immediately said that this was a Golden Dawn attack. At the time, dozens of attacks on Pakistanis had taken place in Nikaia, and hundreds in the rest of Greece. The victim -who sustained head injuries- did not press charges because he didn’t have a residence permit. Another Pakistani, A. Kasher, was attacked and hit in a virtually identical manner.

To counter these incidents, the witness and her comrades publicized the attacks, informed the municipal council, and she was the one to organize in Nikaia the first protest rally in Greece against Golden Dawn when they entered parliament, in order to close down the local chapter. 2,000 people participated in the rally. According to the witness, “the people could no longer stand the situation in their quarter”. Following the Fyssas murder, the local chapter of Golden Dawn closed down and the military-style marches stopped, which up until then were a regular occurrence.
According to the witness, the immigrants lived in fear and when they went to the police station they were turned away. She mentioned an incident where the police officers, instead of arresting the people that had attacked the Pakistanis, arrested the victims themselves. They went with her partner to press charges and after waiting for hours, they were informed that they wouldn’t be able to press charges due to the increased case load in the police station.
B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels

The witness answered questions in turn by civil action counsels Kabagiannis, Skarmeas, Papadakis, Theodoropoulos, Stratis, and Papadopoulou.

The witness stated that the first Golden Dawn march took place in Nikaia in November 2011. The local chapter opened its doors in June 2012. The witness described a Golden Dawn attack on Pakistani workers in the Agios Nikolaos square in Nikaia. She went to the police station along with Javed Aslam [:the president of the Pakistani Community in Greece] with the aim to press charges, however the police informed her that they didn’t have a patrol car available. Two years later she was called to testify about the incident in a Greek Police internal investigation.
Pavlos Fyssas was well known among the youngsters of the area because his group “E13” had played a lot of concerts and the young people knew him as one of their own who didn’t become known through the media. He had sung about Giuliagni, Grigoropoulos etc. That’s how Golden Dawn first came to know about him, because at the time they were targeting the younger people. According to the witness, by assuming the political responsibility, Michaloliakos approved of the crime and is an instigator.

On the evening of the P. Fyssas murder the witness attended a municipal meeting, where they discussed the intention of Golden Dawn to organize a food charity event only for Greeks in Perivolaki Square. The municipal council unanimously blocked the event. The witness stated that on 2015, while she was sitting in an election stand, a few Golden Dawners threatened her that “she will meet the same fate as Fyssas”.

As for the blood donations “only for Greeks” the witness explained that, due to her present employment situation, she is in a position to know that it is a misleading and racist action: The doctors never discriminate between recipients, but the available blood is offered according to the needs of the hospital.

According to the witness, Nikaia never had an immigrant problem. However, Golden Dawn seeked to spread its racist poison, by taking advantage of the political environment at the time as well as the New Democracy rhetoric. Furthermore, the conditions around the Golden Dawn chapter were those of “pure terror”. Golden Dawn would block the surrounding streets, and checked those that tried to pass. The local chapter was open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on those days there was no political activity in the area due to their terrorizing activity.

C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels

The witness was examined in turn by defense counsels Dimitrakopoulos, Tsagas, Oplantzakis, Michalolias G., and Roussopoulos.

The witness testified that she considers the organizing of a rally to protest Golden Dawn’s election results as a purely democratic activity, since that’s how you save lives from racist attacks. Fascist violence incidents escalated after Golden Dawn entered parliament. The witness was then asked about her book “The Golden Dawn Files”. The witness stated that she mentioned the attack on the Egyptian fishermen -as a witness for the civil action- in the “Timeline” section of the book, because she thought it was apposite. She then went on to briefly mention incidents of violence connected to Golden Dawn that are mentioned in her book. She mentioned the torture of Pakistanis in the Nikaia Police Station and that the DIAS units always rode behind Golden Dawn marches. According to her, this police station played a crucial racist role even before the advent of Golden Dawn in Nikaia. According to her “Golden Dawn relied on political allies. Both PASOK and ND played the racist card. And this provided the boost that Golden Dawn needed to get out on the streets. The boost in racism went hand in hand with the evolution of the credit crisis. So that the immigrants would pay, instead of those that are responsible for the memorandums”.

Testimony of witness Antonis Rellas

A. Examination by the members of the court

The witness is a director, journalist, radio producer (in “Orange Radio”) and a disabled persons activist. He has never been a candidate with any party. He was never a witness of a Golden Dawn attack and everything he knows is a result of his disabled persons activism.

According to the witness, Nazi Germany murdered through “T4” 275.000 disabled persons in order to purify the Aryan race and because they were costing the state funds. After the Nurnberg trials and the doctors’ trials, these theories were forgotten. However, the witness stated that on May 14th, 2007, the Golden Dawn blog “Green Wing” posted the article of a Canadian named Prevost, who is a questionable professor of eugenics. According to the article, people with disabilities, mental health problems etc. should be sterilized. Furthermore the cell leader of Nikaia, Michalis Papadimitriou, formulated in Ethnos newspaper the opinion that people with disabilities should be sterilized. A climate of fear was formed among disabled persons, and they felt that they shouldn’t survive and that a person such as them shouldn’t be born. Furthermore, Matthaiopoulos went to voice the same positions in Crash magazine, and he repeated the same positions on Tragas’ show in the presence of Lagos, Kasidiaris, Pappas, and Panagiotaros. Matthaiopoulos thought that disabled people shouldn’t even be able to vote. According to the witness “this is at the core of Nazi ideology, which Golden Dawn espouses completely”.

These statements were not repeated because of a public outcry. There were some incidents of attacks such as the one in SEAN [a disabled persons organization in Thessaloniki] on the night of May 19th, 2012, when they vandalized the offices and sprayed swastikas on the walls etc. Since SEAN is an affiliate organization of KKE, the attack had an added political subtext. According to the witness, in this case Golden Dawn did not act in the same way she did with immigrants, that is with assault squads, but by creating a climate of fear and “de-humanization”. He also believes that these positions could be put into effect if Golden Dawn came into power – which is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany. In Germany the disabled persons were murdered at the same time that disabled Wehrmacht soldiers were decorated. The same applies for Golden Dawn: a few disabled persons have joined, believing that as nationalists they will be spared.

B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels

The witness answered questions in turn by civil action counsels Kabagiannis, Skarmeas, Papadakis, and Theodoropoulos.

The witness clarified that the aforementioned Prevost was talking about persons with mental health problems but others, too – he didn’t limit the categories he was talking about. Furthermore, there’s a video of Papadimitriou where he’s saying that everyone that harbors no nationalist views should be put in this category as racially impure. These statements, as well as the statements by Matthaiopoulos, were never denounced by the leadership of Golden Dawn.
The witness has been informed about various incidents, but as he said, there is a climate of fear and most incidents are never reported by the victims. From 2007 until 2013 there have been about 50 incidents [:of attacks against disabled persons] – most of them in Athens. There were many incidents in April 2012, because they were fueled by the aforementioned statements.

C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels

The witness was examined in turn by defense counsels Dimitrakopoulos, Oplantzakis, Michalolias G., and Roussopoulos.

The witness stated that he knows about Aslanidou, a disabled person and a member of Golden Dawn in Thessaloniki, but he cleared up that she is no way connected to the disabled persons movement. As she said, the persons with disabilities number about 1,200,000 and the 3 or 4 that participate in the Golden Dawn “National Association of Persons with Disabilities” do not express the positions of the disabled persons movement. As for Golden Dawn’s parliamentary work about disabled persons, the witness spoke about Golden Dawn’s “doublespeak”, which has posed questions even in the European Parliament, but has never voted for any of the proposed laws on the matter. Finally, he described an attack against a Paraolympic champion in the island of Chios, whose wheelchair was knocked over and he was thrown on the ground.

The presiding judge adjourned for January 11th, 2018, at the Women’s Wing of the Korydallos Prison, when the civil action witnesses for the PAME members are expected to testify (Liana Kanelli etc).

[We should note that the civil action for the Egyptian fishermen stated that the statements of the civil action counsels who have already testified have satisfied them, and since there have already been final convictions of Golden Dawners in other courts, in order to speed up the process of the trial, they are willing to forgo the examination of the rest of the witnesses that they had proposed].