131st Hearing, Court of Appeals, February 28th, 2017
- 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 increased public attendance, and there were many members of the press present at the hearing.
- Presence and representation of the defendants
Present at the start of the hearing was Nikolaos Papavasileiou, a defendant in the case of the arson in Amerikis Square.
The hearing started with the motion by the state prosecutor concerning the objection raised by the defense counsels about the expulsion of civil action counsel Kabagiannis, because he has served as an interpreter during the preliminary process.
The state prosecutor motioned to overrule the objection by the defense counsels under article 234 CCP, saying that the civil action counsel served as an interpreter in 2013, and in 2014 he appeared as a civil action counsel in the hearing process. She went on to support that the matter is relatively invalid, dealing as it is with matters of the preliminary process, and as a consequence the objection is submitted in an untimely fashion under article 171 CCP, since the defendants are brought before the court by an irrevocable indictment. Finally, in light of the above the state prosecutor retracted her earlier decision concerning the license of civil action Kabagiannis to submit questions to the witnesses.
Kabagiannis submitted a written argument against the objection raised by the defense, invoking the relevant literature as well as Supreme Court jurisprudence.
The defense supported their objection, saying that this was a complete breach of law and asking for a broad interpretation of the article in question.
The members of the court finally overruled the objection as unfounded, saying that article 234 CCP specifically mentions -numerus clausus- the categories of persons that are forbidden to serve as interpreters.
ΙV. Testimony of witness Seck Khadim proceeds
Responding to questions by the civil action counsels the witness stated that he could tell that the perpetrators were members of Golden Dawn because they were wearing t-shirts emblazoned with Golden Dawn insignia, and in another instance, when they asked the papers of a Bangladeshi immigrant, they introduced themselves as such. He also said that the same group went on patrols, which were joined by Papavasileiou and the others. The patrols started around September 2012 according to the witness, who said that he’s been in Greece for 13 years and that up until then he had had no trouble at all.
When shown some photographs, Khadim identified defendants Papavasiliou, Boletis, and Roupakias. When asked, the witness said that Papavasiliou wears those same t-shirts and camo pants in the photos that he was shown, the same uniform he wore when he was making those patrols every afternoon in Fylis St., when they went into shops and asked for protection money or were asking to see the papers of immigrants, as if they were police.
The witness referred to the attack sustained by the Tanzanian community, on the same day Ciprien’s establishment was hit, and he once more mentioned the name of Papavasiliou. He maintained that Ciprien dropped the charges after threats he received from Panagiotaros, that both Perris and Papavasiliou would sue Ciprien.
Responding to questions by the defense counsels the witness said that he has never been to “Cointreau” bar and he doesn’t know what was going on in there. When asked by defense counsel Tzabatzis if Africans like himself drank and debauched in the establishment or outside of it, the witness responded, “I’m an African and I don’t drink”. The witness said that he doesn’t know whether these establishments operated under license, and said that the complaints and legal action concerning the music wasn’t the problem, the problem was fascism, because they told them they didn’t want colored people in their neighborhood because it’s bad luck. Responding to another question by the same defense counsel about why all colored people like him operate a bar, he answered that he is colored and he doesn’t operate a bar, the same as thousands of [:colored] people that live in the area. The witness said that after repeated provocations by Golden Dawn, they [:the immigrant communities] gathered in the square and called the residents of the area in conversation, however the Golden Dawners that had burned down the café bar didn’t come, because they are against colored people, homosexuals, and atheists, because they think they’re better than the people that belong to these categories.
Responding to more questions by defense counsel Kontovazenitis he stated that he was an eyewitness to various incidents during which Golden Dawners forced people to close down their shops, while the witness himself was repeatedly insulted. Concerning the meeting with the residents, the witness said that they came and held a discussion in Lefkosias St. and the witness suggested that they calm down and talk about it.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Tsagas, the witness said that he doesn’t know who it was that made all those complaints concerning the bars, and he mentioned that more than 5 people participated in the arson.
Responding to more questions the witness stated that as a President of the community he had made a call to discuss the matter of girls under 18 that were trafficked from Africa and were forced in prostitution, and in the same forum they organized soccer games and called the residents that had problems with the music being loud to come and talk it over. He said that he knows nothing about the residents gathering signatures or whether the establishments in question had valid licenses.
Responding to questions by defense counsel Papadelis, the witness stated that he himself has never been the victim of an attack, and maintained that they didn’t mention Golden Dawn during the preliminary testimony because the police officer simply didn’t ask them about it. The witness said that he is not a friend of Amougou, that he helped him because he knew Greek and he was President at the time. According to the witness it’s not music that’s the problem, it’s fascism. Responding to a relevant question the witness said that some of the patrols included women.
He also said that to this day he hasn’t been the victim of an attack, because first they clean up further down and then they’ll reach him.
- Witness Elghandour Naim, president of the Muslim Association of Greece, is called to the witness stand
The court did not proceed with the questioning of the witness.
The presiding judge stated that witnesses Salum Francis and Amougou are of unknown residence, therefore their testimonies can’t be read. Civil action counsel Zotos stated that he will try to locate the first witness, who testified in another trial in January, and the court registrar said that according to the previous witness Salum Francis, a witness in the case of the arson of the Tanzanian community, will appear in court on Thursday.
The presiding judge adjourned for Thursday, March 2nd, 2017, and will order Aslam Javied to appear before the court.