127th Hearing, Court of Appeals, February 14th, 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 journalists present in the courtroom, and a great number of spectators.
II. Presence of defendants
None of the defendants was present at the hearing.
A. Examination of witness Panagiotis Drimylis (a member of the community center “Synergeio”) by the defense counsels
The witness was examined in turn by the following defense counsels: Velentza, Boudouris, Papadellis, Michalolias N., Roussopoulos, Alexiadis, Triantafylloudis, Michalolias G., Stavrianaki.
Responding to the questions that were posed to him the witness testified that the defendants in this trial are prosecuted for founding and participating in a criminal organization. He stated that he saw the photographs that depict the motorbikes of the persons that attacked the community center “Synergeio” on the day following the attack. The witness heard that Michos and Lagos were among the members of Golden Dawn that had participated in a moto demonstration that took place immediately before the attack, and that he didn’t know anyone else so that he can identify him. The police officers who arrived at the community center after the attack stayed for about 20 minutes. The witness talked with one of the police officer, Psochios, if he remembers correctly. The policeman saw the witness wiping blood off his face and asked him whether he should call an ambulance. The policemen didn’t assess the damage that had been done and did not ask for the center’s contact persons. The witness stated that many of his comrades offered to testify as witnesses.
The witness testified that he first made mention of “assault squads” in his main testimony, but he could also have mentioned the term even earlier, in his preliminary testimony. The witness believes that the Golden Dawners’ motorized demonstration ended at “Synergeio”, which was then attacked, because of its antifascist character. A little before the attack took place a teacher was giving an English lesson to minors. The witness was also in the community center at the time. A friend called to tell him that the Golden Dawn motorized demonstration was heading towards the community center. In the time that it took for the Golden Dawners to arrive (4 or 5 minutes), the witness tried to make sure that the students had left, but it wasn’t possible and so the teacher along with some students hid in the bathroom. About 100 Golden Dawners arrived on 50 motorbikes. The drivers all stayed on their motorbikes and at least 20 of the riders got off and proceeded with the assault. Molotovs were thrown, among other things, and the glass panes at the entrance to the community center were smashed. The incident lasted for about 2 minutes, and the witness was beaten up by 15 people for about 30 to 45 seconds.
The witness went on to say that he didn’t know whether the car that was identified was Lagos’ own, since he doesn’t live in the area. However, the residents identified both the car and Lagos. The witness stated that the photographs in question were uploaded to the internet, maybe even on the day after the attack.
According to the witness, 5 minutes after the incident (when police officer Psochios arrived on the scene), about 50 of his comrades had already arrived, and an hour later (when police officer Gogoulos arrived) the number of his comrades had risen to 150. The children’s parents thanked the witness for his presence of mind in guarding their safety and for the fact that they didn’t have to testify as witnesses. Spiliotis, who took the photographs in question, offered to testify.
Defense counsel Papadellis attributed the attack to the announcement that had been made by “Synergeio” at the time expressing solidarity to Villa Amalias [:a historic anarchist squat in the center of Athens]. He also tried to focus on the personality of Nontas Skyftoulis, however the presiding judge did not allow him to pose questions in that direction, since they are irrelevant to this trial.
Responding to a question by defense counsel Roussopoulos about whether the witness and his comrades had the right to exclude people from their center, the witness answered: “Yes. And others can do the same. But they don’t have the right to attack other centers”. The aforementioned counsel then asked the witness if he had been targeted by former comrades about the case of Christoforos Marinos, and whether the attack happened because of this. The witness said: “There was no targeting [:by my comrades]. When I came to the court I was sure that ‘Synergeio’ had been targeted by Golden Dawn, and now I will wonder whether from now on I will be a target of Golden Dawn.
Defense counsel Triantafylloudis asked the witness if he knows that the President of the Association of Greek Forensic Surgeons, the professor of music Mr. Matthaiopoulos, as well as others, are members of Golden Dawn and as a consequence members of Golden Dawn do not commit violent actions, something that the witness said was irrelevant.
B. Motion by a defense counsel
Defense counsel Velentza motioned -at the start of the hearing- to call police officer Psochios to the witness stand to be cross-examined with witness Drimylis. The court reserved its judgment.
C. Motion by the civil action counsels
When the examination of witness Drimylis concluded, the civil action counsel Zotos, speaking on behalf of the rest of the civil action counsels, motioned to call to the witness stand the people that could say who it was that attacked the community center, that is police officer Psochios who arrived at the scene immediately after the incident, and the doctor Christos Spiliotis, who took the aforementioned photos. The counsel said that it stands to reason that Psochios was the one that must have been called to testify instead of Gogoulos, who arrived at the scene of the attack an hour later. The court reserved its judgment.
D. Interruption of the hearing due to violent incidents inside the courtroom
The court called Ruben Rodriguez to the witness stand, and instead of him witness Georgios Miliarakis (who was slated to testify after Rodriguez and is too a member of the anarchist squat “Antipnoia”), who told the court that R. Rodriguez would not testify unless his comrades are allowed to enter the courtroom, because the guards won’t let them in, even though there are still seats that are empty. The presiding judge stressed that Rodriguez is still obliged to present himself to court and testify.
At this point tensions rose in the court between supporters of Golden Dawn and anarchists-antifascists, which quickly escalated. The anarchists used a fire extinguisher and the courtroom was filled with dust. A Golden Dawner shouted to Magda Fyssa “Where’s your Pavlos now?” The members of the court immediately left the courtroom, while the police force was standing between the two groups (Golden Dawn on one side and anarchists-antifascists on the other) to prevent immediate contact. What really happened (as any neutral observer could see) was that the police officers had their backs turned to the Golden Dawners (preventing them from passing through their ranks, but also protecting them) and violently drove away the anarchists-antifascists. The police force then evacuated -through different exits- the “two audiences” and tensions continued (at a smaller scale) outside the courtroom.
Due to the incident in the courtroom at this point (the time was 11:29) the hearing was interrupted and will resume on Thursday, February 16th, 2017 (when the witness Ruben Rodriguez -a member of the Antipnoia anarchist squat- is expected to testify before the court).