161st Hearing, Court of Appeals, June 6th, 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, until all audience seats in the courtroom are filled. There were many journalists and spectators in court today.
ΙΙ. Presence and representation of the defendants
None of the defendants was present at the hearing, and most of them were represented by their counsels.
III. Testimony of witness Georgios Ioakeimidis
A.Examination of the witness by the members of the court
The witness stated that he is the elected mayor of the municipality of Nikaia–Agios Ioannis Rentis since January 1st, 2011, and answered questions by the members of the court describing everything he knew about the rallies and motorized rallies of Golden Dawn that took place in his municipality. Specifically he said that Golden Dawn had opened a local chapter in Nikaia in 2011 and that its members organized frequent rallies and motorized rallies in the area. As he said, they often numbered 50-70 people. The witness talked about a rally in August 2011, attended by 50 people, which as he said resembled a military activity. The participants marched in ranks of two under the orders of a “sergeant”, who punctuated the rhythm of the march shouting “one TWO, one TWO” and all together were shouting the slogan “BLOOD, HONOR, GOLDEN DAWN”. The witness stated that these rallies instilled fear in immigrants and citizens alike.
The witness then said that he has heard of many attacks of Golden Dawn against immigrants as well as attacks on members of KKE and SYRIZA. Concerning the attacks on SYRIZA and KKE he said that he was informed about them because of his official capacity, and a municipal council was convened, which issued an official statement condemning the attacks. The witness also said that the municipal council had issued another statement, which denied Golden Dawn permission to organize a soup kitchen only for Greeks, reasoning that such a charity was discriminatory against immigrants. For this particular soup kitchen the witness said that it was cancelled because of the murder of Pavlos Fyssas that had just taken place, and not because the Municipality refused to issue a permit.
Responding to relevant questions about the Golden Dawn MP in B’ Piraeus electoral district, I. Lagos, the witness stated that he had heard that at the time Lagos was organizing and coordinating everything in B’ Piraeus. The information they had was that Lagos coordinated both the soup kitchens and the assaults. He also said that Golden Dawn wants to show that it has the power to do everything, outside the institutions and regulations of the State. More specifically, they want to show that immigrants must leave, and so they attack them to drive them away. The witness pointed out that Golden Dawn didn’t dare to fight the parties in the municipality and that it never enters a political confrontation, and that on the contrary it attacks immigrants. As he said, this state of events gives the impression to 16-year-olds that they can bully an immigrant on the bus. He went on to say that Nikaia is a large and poor quarter. A poll in 2013 showed that 45% of residents said that the biggest problems of the quarter was joblessness, poverty, and xenophobia. Golden Dawn found fertile ground there during the financial and refugee crisis, but was weakened by the murder of Fyssas, in which participated Roupakias and Patelis, and that it was well known that Perama and Nikaia were at the time Golden Dawn strongholds. After the beginning of the trial the number of the assaults was reduced and many local chapters of Golden Dawn were shut down.
The witness then said that he is not personally acquainted with any of the Golden Dawn MPs and that Golden Dawn is not represented in the municipal council of Nikaia-Rentis. He does know Korkovilis, a member of Golden Dawn, who was a driver employed in the Municipality of Rentis, and as the witness learned he was present at the murder of Fyssas, and that he is a defendant in the present trial as an accomplice. For the above, Korkovilis has been suspended. The witness stated that he was shocked by his participation, which he attributes to his low intelligence, and also said that when the witness saw Korkovilis after the murder, he told him that he is stupid that he put himself in the position to have to answer to everyone. According to the witness, Korkovilis has regretted his participation in the murder.
B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels
Responding to questions by the civil action counsels, the witness stated that the coalitions that participate in the municipal council issued an official statement that condemned the descendants of Nazis, i.e. Golden Dawn. Concerning the weakening of Golden Dawn in the area, he said that a major part of it was their arrest and indictment, as well as the fact that the local chapters were shut down.
As for the coordination of their actions, the witness stated that he doesn’t believe that one man suddenly decides to act alone in such a manner, and that such organizations act in structured ways, with central planning. In his opinion, the planning seemed to have been done by the Nikaia local chapter. The witness went on to say that in his capacity as a mayor he is in a position to know that in the municipal councils, the members shape together a common action. Responding to a question about whether the aim of the organization could conceivably be the solidarity to the citizens, the witness stated that their aim was to enlist members and that soup kitchens only for Greeks recall the discriminations of Hitler.
The witness stated that the municipal authorities of Rentis repeatedly contacted the police asking for better police protection of the immigrants, because the assaults against them were often close to murderous, due to the way they were perpetrated. Every time, the police answered that they didn’t have the power to act. The witness added that the political system showed a complete indifference to the immigrants, and that he went with other representatives from the municipality to lodge a complaint to the police about the beatings of immigrants, and that the political system is obliged to ask itself about the identity of the assailants. As he said, the same holds true of the police, which must search for the culprits. On the contrary, the police, especially in the Nikaia area, is almost non-existent.
C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels
Responding to relevant questions by the defense counsels, the witness stated that even though the local chapter of Golden Dawn was guarded, he was never asked to show his identification when he passed by, and that it is true that the local chapter had been attacked. The witness also said that the soup kitchens only for Greeks attract many people, but the municipality does not permit them because they promote intolerance and discrimination. Responding to another question, the witness stated that Golden Dawn asks for an ID card to give food to citizens, and that state and social services in similar occasions, ask of the poor for documents that prove their poverty status.
He said that the percentage of Golden Dawn in Nikaia in 2015 was 8-9%, but there was rampant xenophobia in the area even before the opening of the local chapter.
Concerning Korkovilis, an employee of the municipality and a defendant in the case of the Fyssas murder, the witness said that he was a good employee and that he has no opinion about whether his suspension before the court hands down its decision was justified, because the witness is not a judge.
Finally, he said that he is in no position to name who gave the order to the Nikaia local chapter and who is it that issues the orders from the Golden Dawn headquarters.
The presiding judge adjourned for Thursday, June 8th, 2017, at 09:00, in the Women’s Wing of Korydallos Prison.