140th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, March 20th, 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 was limited attendance by the public, but significant presence of members of the press.

II. Presence and representation of the defendants

None of the defendants was present at the hearing.

ΙΙΙ. Proceedings

The hearing commenced with the conclusion of the testimony of witness Andreas Bilalis concerning the attack on the Pakistani workers in the village of Vainia, Ierapetra. The proceedings then moved on to the comments on the witness testimonies under article 358 CCP.

ΙV. Progress and conclusion of testimony of witness Andreas Bilalis

Responding to questions by the presiding judge, the witness answered that on the night of the 13th of February, 2013, he got out of the oil mill building and quickly got in his car, which was when he saw 10-12 persons circling the oil mill and taking lengths of wooden beams from a nearby construction site. He recognized one of them as Savvas Garofallakis. When he was getting in his car the group was getting out of their cars, and one of them stayed behind to lock his car and wait for the others, and afterwards he identified him as Petrakis, when he saw photos of him on the internet. He went near and noted down the license plate numbers of the two jeeps, which gave him pause because he hadn’t seen them before in the area.

The witness stressed that he was a target of Golden Dawn too, since he was the one that had rented the house to the Pakistanis and also because for many years he has participated in political or cultural events, because he owns light and sound systems which he lends free of charge for such events, and often he was the one shaping the subject and content of these events. The witness maintained that free speech is a target of Golden Dawn and even though he has never been threatened personally, he was bothered a few times since Golden Dawn opened its offices in Ierapetra.

He stated that they had opposed Golden Dawn due to its ideology, when a committee had been formed to object to the closing down of the Ierapetra hospital, something that would increase the load on the area, given that a lot of immigrants work there who have no papers and hence no health insurance.

Returning to the description of the assault, he said that he didn’t call the police as he was leaving for Ierapetra, since he first wanted to warn the Pakistanis that were staying in the house he owned, because the police would not get there in time and in sufficient numbers. He collected his kid from the tuition center and went home. As he was coming back to the village from Ierapetra, a patrol car overtook him, and he understood what had happened. The Pakistanis called him on the phone and asked him to come to the house and call the police, and in the background he could hear fearful shouts. He came out of the car and told the policemen that what they were searching for was in the pump room. When he got to the house he saw three people wounded, a crowd, and blood on the floor. They told him that they had been cooking in the makeshift kitchen which was enclosed in nylon. The assailants came in, told them to get out of there and then beat them up, shouting and threatening them, and they beat one more outside the makeshift kitchen.

Responding to questions by the members of the court he said that a second ambulance arrived on the scene, and he gave the license plate numbers to the police on the spot and left, since he had to go back to the oil mill. There Kapouas told him that some men in black had come in and asked whether Pakistanis were working there, and he also saw that the jeeps had left. According to the witness the ages of the assailants were between 20 and 35 years old and they looked strong. Concerning the lighting conditions at the scene of the attack, he said that the makeshift nylon kitchen is lit from within, not from outside, since the streetlight in that spot has been broken by a BB gun.

The witness said that after the attack the policemen came at the oil mill and collected information and evidence, and that’s where he gave his first testimony. The next day he was asked to go to the police station and it was there that he identified Garofallakis in photos he was shown, and later they told him that one of the two jeeps belonged to him. Later he learned that the other one belonged to Petrakis, who was the principal at a night high school and whose irregular behavior was known all over Ierapetra. The witness mentioned an incident involving Petrakis and his wife, a candidate on the ballot of Golden Dawn, during an event in the central square of Ierapetra, when they started shouting and threatening people.

Bilalis told that other people rent homes to Pakistanis, but his is the most remote, whereas the others are in the village and aren’t as undefended as his own.

Responding to questions by the state prosecutor the witness stated that, as it was shown, the security camera in the oil mill wasn’t in operation, and supported that the attack had racist motives. He insisted that Petrakis locked the car and waited for the other two, even though the presiding judge told him that in his preliminary testimony he had said that Garofallakis was the one that had locked the car. The witness said that it might have been a misunderstanding, since the testimony lasted for 3,5 hours, and said that Petrakis was about 50 years old, but looks younger due to his stature.

Responding to questions by the civil action counsels, the witness stated that two arson attempts had been done on the Pakistanis’ home before the attack now on trial, and when Petrakis and his wife had gone to hand out pamphlets in a street market in Agios Nikolaos they stirred up trouble, something which caused ELME [:the Teacher Association of High Schools] to kick him out of their ranks.

The witness said that if an individual wants to get olive oil from the co-op he first has to talk with one of the managers, something that is done very rarely.

He said that Golden Dawn terrorized the area, either by holding marches in the night with people in black clothing, or by issuing threats, like they did to a film director that lives nearby, when they told him to stop his activity, or when they threw water with white paint to the participants of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising anniversary march. He also said that the locals needed the immigrants for work in the greenhouses and fields, but always in a relationship based on mutual respect.

Responding to another question he said that the assailants wore black, tight clothes that looked nothing like the traditional black clothes of Cretans. He said that the distance between the house and the oil mill is 1-2 minutes if someone is running, not more than 100-200 meters. He claimed this was an attack that had been planned in advance, as can be shown by the black clothes, their entry to the oil mill, the wooden beams they took, and the fact that they got away in the cars. Referring to the trial that took place in Crete, he said that it turned out that five of the people were leading members of the local chapter of Golden Dawn, whose position on immigrants is to hunt them ruthlessly, and this attack is the confirmation of the ideology of Golden Dawn.

Responding to further questions Bilalis said that things did not progress in this manner because the leading members were arrested after the incident.

Responding to questions by the defense counsels the witness said he could make out the color of the assailants’ clothes fine under the light there, and wrote down the license plate numbers on a piece of paper in order to remember them, and as for the white van mentioned by Kapouas it is a kind of vehicle often used by farmers in the area. Responding to further questions he said that the Pakistanis told him that they were beaten up with punches, kicks, and wooden clubs, and cooking utensils were smashed, too. Concerning the period that followed the arrest of the five people after the attack, he said that the Pakistanis kept watch and because that could have consequences, the police agreed to make patrols and that no one would get deported, since there are no facilities to support deportation.

He repeated that he hadn’t seen Petrakis before the attack, he had only heard of him, and saw him in the square when he started up that incident.

Bilalis said that he didn’t employ Pakistanis for farm work, they just called him “boss”, because they didn’t know his name and he went there to collect rent. Responding to another question he said that the oil mill belongs to a co-op managed by a board of directors, of which he is a member. The board makes a decision if they receive a request to give olive oil to a charitable organization or political party. He mentioned another incident, which illustrates the fear caused by the activity of Golden Dawn, during which defendant Daskalakis went into the hospital escorted by a guard and said “if there’s a problem we can slap someone”. He also mentioned incidents that have taken place between immigrants and locals concerning differences of a financial nature, since many employers don’t pay the agreed wages, and admitted that he’s heard some pretty bad things.

He maintained that the two arson attacks that preceded the attack against the Pakistanis are connected to it, since it appears that the assailants followed orders, which is shown by the fact that they acted in unison. Concerning the Molotov attacks the witness stated that the people in the house could have been burned alive, since the house contains flammable materials such as carpets and pieces of wood, and that the Pakistanis told him of the fear they felt.

  1. Comments on the witness testimonies under article 358 CCP

Commenting on the witness testimonies civil action counsel Kabagiannis said that the modus operandi of the organization is now clear and that the motives behind it are the Nazi ideology and other similar motives. The participation of Barekas, Michos, and Tsakanikas in the attack on Synergeio was confirmed, and it was shown that MP Lagos was present in his car. Concerning the attack on the Antipnoia squat he referred to the definite court decision that convicted Siatounis, who is a member of the Golden Dawn Central Committee and was rewarded by its leader Michaloliakos, who placed Siatounis on the party ballot. There was also a convicting court judgment handed down in the trial of the Ierapetra assault, and the objection by the defense concerning the fact that the trial is still in progress confirms that Golden Dawn is a union of people. Concerning the attacks in the center of Athens the counsel referred to a relevant findings of the State Ombudsman, but also to the testimony of one of the witnesses, who said, verbatim, “We owe our lives to the blood of Fyssas”.

The presiding judge adjourned for March 30th, 2017, at the Court of Appeals, when the comments on the witness testimonies under article 358 CCP will continue for the cases of Synergeio up to the current one.