104th Hearing, Court of Appeals, November 22th, 2016

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 was significant attendance by the public as well as members of the press.

ΙΙ. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the start of the proceedings was only one of the defendants in the PAME case, namely Kastrinos. Of the rest of the defendants, twenty-seven (27) were represented by their counsels, while the remaining were recorded as absent.

ΙΙΙ. Proceedings

The hearing started with the conclusion of the testimony by witness Goutis. After a short recess the hearing continued with the testimony of witness and plaintiff Diamantakis.

It should be noted that the presiding judge asked of defense counsel Karydomatis to explain his statements during the previous hearing in Korydallos that “You are protecting the witness”. Mr. Karydomatis confirmed his statement and said that it was directed at the presiding judge, who, according to the counsel, interrupted the questions by the defense, and protected the witness.

ΙV. Continuation of cross-examination of witness Goutis

Responding to questions by the defense counsel for Kastrinos, the witness said that he was standing very close to the rest of the wounded, however he did not identify Kastrinos, whom he didn’t know from before.

Next, Mr. Oplantzakis attempted to parallel the assailants’ actions with the methods used by communist parties to ascend to power, however the presiding judge intervened and pointed out that the court is interested in criminal offenses, not in other political parties. What is important is the witness’s credibility and not his party allegiance. The witness stated that the perpetrators of the murderous attack had stated their party allegiance, to strike fear in the hearts the attacked, and because they thought they enjoyed procedural immunity. It wasn’t the first time either, previously they had attacked Antipnoia, Patissia, and the automobile workshop. The witness repeated that the assailants were convinced that no one would impede their actions, and that Golden Dawn would later deny any charges for two reasons: to muddle the waters, so to speak, and to further encourage the assault squads. He pointed out that no arrests were made for a whole month. Responding to a relevant question the witness paralleled Golden Dawn with Hitler and stated that they try to ascend to power through tactics of fear and terror. As for the attack, the witness stated that it came to an end both because the pre-agreed time period had elapsed, and because they didn’t know whether Poulikogiannis was dead.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Mr. Papadelis, he stated that the phrase “Will you leave quietly or must we fight?” was beside the point, since they were enclosed on all sides and couldn’t leave. The witness repeated that he went to the police with Poulikogiannis’ blood still on his clothes, and that he was asked to limit his testimony to the damage done to the cars. He was terrified and said “I wasn’t sitting in front of the TV with a bag of crisps”, and that later he had the chance to amend his testimony. Concerning the attack’s conclusion, he stated that the woman’s shout that she had called the police happened to coincide with the order “Finish!” shouted from the side of the assailants. From the assailants’ group he could only identify Antonakopoulos, whom he worked with, although they had no relations.

Concerning the event organized by Golden Dawn in the Perama Shipping Yards [S/Y] he stated that it was held in the middle of the summer when it was 40 degrees Celsius outside, with no previous announcement of any sort, and that outside the cafeteria 20 goons were handing around. He considered the event to be a prelude to the attack, mentioning Lagos’ words at the cafeteria, who had said “the lackeys of PAME will leave, or we will stamp them out”. Responding to another question he stated that the term “lackeys” has been also used by other political parties to describe the members of PAME, but it’s the first time they have received such threats, which were realized a month later.

Responding to questions by Mr. G. Michalolias the witness was shown a number of photographs and pointed the locations of the assailants and the DIAS squad, and reported that no cars were passing by, because as he learned later members of Golden Dawn had closed off the street. The witness never saw those persons. However he stated that those persons were not the same as the ones that had closed in the members of PAME. He pointed out that, as soon as the signal was given, the assailants left via the two alleys they had come out of.

The witness believes that the target of the attack was the leader of the union, along with whoever stood in their way. Concerning the formation held by the assailants he said they were standing in three tight rows, one after the other arranged in a semi-circle. According to the witness, the objects with the added metallic protrusions were carried by the assailants that had been wearing helmets and hoods. Concerning the policemen’s reaction to the attack, when Mr. Goutis asked them why they didn’t do anything to stop it and they just stood there watching them get killed, the policeman answered “And what should we do, draw our guns?”

He stated that the attackers had aimed high when they descended on Poulikogiannis, and Zymaris in particular had been wounded by a nail, and that they were more worried about the leader, who had received a head wounded.He also referred to members of Golden Dawn whom he had watched marching in formation in the street market, in order to scare the people, and that when the arrests started the people started speaking up, up to then no one dared speak. As for the time and the motive behind the attack the witness stated that it was carried out as it was planned and that they [:the PAME members] had been hit in compliance to an order from the higher echelons [of Golden Dawn], because they were members of KKE.

Returning to the matter of the S/Y he said that it was routinely visited by politicians from other parts of the political spectrum, but the union had always been informed, since it was the institution that was entrusted to convey the problems of the workers, and he didn’t deny that there had been complaints voiced about PAME from other parties -apart from Golden Dawn- though these complaints had never before been accompanied by crowbars.
Defense counsel Roussopoulos then stated that his client’s position is that he is persecuted because of his political beliefs, and attempted once more to parallel the actions of KKE, however the presiding judge admonished him, and said that this court deals with criminal offenses. The witness went on to state that only later did he learn that the phrase “Will you leave quietly or must we fight?” was spoken by Pantazis, right before giving the signal by turning his back to commence the attack. The witness was shown photographs and asked questions about the incidents outside the Parliament in 2011, in which P. Goutis admitted that he had taken part.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Alexiadis the witness stated that they didn’t answer to Pantazis’ taunt “Will you leave quietly or must we fight?” He repeated that Pantazis was referring to the S/Y and that Diamantakis and Zymaris had been wounded. He also mentioned the sms messages that Lagos sent to Patelis before, during, and after the attack. One of them reads “The commies have gone out to paint [:put up posters] and they are gonna get hit hard”. The witness went on to specify that the attackers didn’t know whether Poulikogiannis was dead. Responding to a question by the defense counsel why the sms message by Lagos, which reads “They got their first answer” had been sent before the attack, the witness said that he didn’t have a watch and testified the appoximate time of the attack.

Returning to the phrase “PAME lackeys” after a relevant question, the witness said that the phrase alone is an insult, but the crucial thing was what came next. He also stated that he has never heard of Golden Dawn putting up posters in the area.

Responding to questions by P. Michalolias, the witness stated that he recognized no one at the time of the attack, while concerning [Golden Dawn’s] procedural immunity he said that political will was surely needed. He reported that “I’ve never heard a murder committed in front of 8 people, and the policemen to say I saw nothing, I heard nothing”. Asked whether this trial shows that Golden Dawn had procedural immunity, the witness, concluding his testimony said that even procedural immunity has certain limits, and that Golden Dawn overstepped them.

V. Testimony of witness and plaintiff Mr. Diamantakis

Responding to questions by members of the court Mr. Diamantakis stated that he is employed in a machinery repair shop in Piraeus and that he is a member of the Metalworkers’ Union. He stated that the putting up of posters for the festival of KNE was arranged in a meeting at the union offices. On the night in question about 20 people were gathered a little before 23:00 at the gates of the S/Y and headed towards Dimokratias Ave. in Keratsini. They had a few cars and a couple of motorbikes, and they proceeded along the avenue in the direction of Piraeus. They made 3-4 stops, every 50 m. At the Papilas’ Shipping Yard, at around 00:00, two groups of 25 persons each came out of two side-alleys, perpendicular to Dimokratias Ave, whom he saw when they got onto Dimokratias Ave. Most of them were dressed in black, they were holding clubs, and wearing helmets. They were calling Poulikogiannis who stepped to the front and from the opposite group two people came forward and said that Golden Dawn had come to Perama and that “you’re finished here, get out”, and shouted insults and swearwords. He was standing behind Vaxavanis and Goutis, and they couldn’t leave because they had been trapped. Then, the perpetrators commenced a coordinated attack against them. The witness was hit in the right shoulder and fell on the pavement, put up his arm to protect his head and suffered a further 15-20 hits by a club or bat, in the neck, the arms, the shoulder, however he couldn’t make out the perpetrators. When the attack ended, he stood up and saw the assailants throwing stones and damaging the cars. 5-6 people were at each car hitting it with bats. Responding to a question by the presiding judge concerning the duration of the attack, the witness said that during the attack time behaved strangely. The attack ended after 4-5 minutes and they all ran away in formation towards the alleys they had come out of. He heard the phrase “Those from Perama here, the rest over there”.

Concerning the motives behind the attack the witness believes that they concern their [:the PAME members] political activity in Perama, and also that the assailants didn’t just want to scare the PAME group, but also to kill, to harm the union and the Party. He couldn’t identify any of the attackers, but he did see among the assailants a few adolescents, while most of the rest were 35-40 years old. The ambulance transferred the witness and Poulikogiannis to Thriassio Hospital for emergency first aid. He had been wounded in his side, so he underwent medical examinations, and his shoulder was bandaged. He wasn’t examined by a forensic surgeon at that point, but his lawyer advised him to do so and he visited a forensic surgeon on September 23rd, 2013, who confirmed that he had been hit by a sharp instrument.

The witness testified that he doesn’t know of any differences the union might have, but that he does know that Golden Dawn operates its own union in the S/Y. He also pointed out the police’s indifferent reaction to the incident and confirmed the exchange between Goutis and the DIAS policeman, as well as the fact that no arrests were made after the incident.

Responding to questions by the state prosecutor the witness said that from where he stood the assailants didn’t have covered faces, but that he can’t identify them three years after the attack, nor could he identify Kastrinos, who was present at the proceedings. According to Diamantakis the attack left 9 wounded, and he is convinced that the target of the attack was the leader of the union, his position and not the person himself. Responding to questions by the deputy prosecutor he said the attack was coordinated, since the assailants all started hitting together, and also stated that the attack in question possesses some similarities with the attack on Fyssas, since on both occasions the victims were first cut off and then attacked.
Responding to questions by the civil action counsels he pointed out his wound in a photo he was shown and stated that he had been attacked with deadly intent, and that the attack couldn’t be called a clash, since the PAME members didn’t attack. He also testified that there was an order from above and that the video that had been uploaded by Golden Dawn was an announcement of the attack.

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Mr. Stratis, the witness stated that the attack targeted the trade union and that if he had been hit in a more vulnerable spot by the pointed instrument, the wound might have proved fatal.

Responding to further questions he said that they were terrified even from the instant they got surrounded, and that it was clear that the assailants’ goal was not simply to scare them. He also mentioned that the attacking group couldn’t have met by chance and that the weapons had been prepared in advance. He also testified that the two people that came forward and spoke up looked to be the leaders of the group, and that the policemen were standing around doing nothing.