DAY 222: “if he was a Pakistani we were to throw him into the sea”

222nd Hearing, Women’s Wing of Korydallos Prison, February 6th, 2018

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 few journalists and spectators today and increased police presence in the courtroom.

II. Presence of defendants

There were no defendants present in the courtroom today.

ΙΙΙ. Testimony of witness E. Polychronidou concludes

Evaggelia Polychronidou, a police officer in the Korydallos Police Precinct was called to the witness stand to finish her testimony, which she had commenced on October 12th, 2016, on the 91st hearing of this trial, which had been interrupted because the witness had fainted.

A. Examination by the civil action counsels continues

The witness responded to questions by civil action counsels Theodoropoulos and Kabagiannis and confirmed that the 6 perpetrators were wearing black clothes and two of them wore Golden Dawn shirts. Responding to a relevant question, she said that the police photograph an arrested person when he or she is arrested, but there are times that the defendants change clothes to be more presentable for the court hearing. When counsel Kabagiannis showed the witness a photo of Pantazis wearing a white t-shirt, she said that none of the arrested was wearing clothes like these.

B. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels

The defense counsels refrained from questioning the witness.

IV. Testimony of witness Papageorgiou

A. Examination of the witness by the court

Witness Georgios Papageorgiou stated that he works as a journalist and is a former secretary of the Southern Suburbs Local Chapter (2012-2013). He became an active member of Golden Dawn because he had patriotic leanings, and was recruited by an acquaintance of the MP who uses the pseudonym Apollo. He was appointed to the position by Panagiotaros, who was higher in the hierarchy, and he left the party because of differences with MPs Lagos and Panagiotaros, since they were pushing him to commit acts of violence. “They wanted clashes, they didn’t want things to be peaceful”, the witness said, “Lagos acted like a goon, but Panagiotaros had more cunning and stayed away from the forefront to protect himself”.

When he left the party, he sent a letter to Michaloliakos explaining the reasons behind his resignation. He spoke at length about the Nikaia local chapter, stated that the area was very tough, “it was a regular army, they did exercises, they bullied people, they hunted immigrants and leftists in the alleys and they beat up a lot of people”, and he also stressed that all activities were approved by Lagos who gave the orders to the commander of the local chapter, Patelis. He said that Lagos was so strict and controlling that “not a fly could pass without him knowing, he wanted to have total control”. The witness also discussed specific assaults, such as a motorized rally in Elliniko that ended with “people getting badly beaten”. He went on to describe the possession and distribution of weapons; the buying and selling of weapons that were used in due time; shooting lessons in improvised firing ranges; a van with counterfeit license plates owned by Panagiotaros which was used to transport various things, as well as a cache of light weaponry such as wooden bats, which was stashed in a warehouse in Kifisos Ave.

He said that the murder of Pavlos Fyssas “was long overdue, it was a matter of time” because things had gotten so extreme in the area. The witness stated that the leadership had a standing order to answer all “provocations” with violence. He confirmed that the activities of the local chapters start well before their inauguration, that the five-member councils that govern them are appointed by the leadership, and that he reported everything to his superiors. He said that the ideology of Golden Dawn is nationalism-socialism which is bound with violence.

B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels

The witness answered in turn to questions by civil action counsels Papadopoulou, Tobatzoglou, Kabagiannis, Skarmeas, Malagaris, Stratis.

He confirmed that there were indeed assault squads, which he called the “guard” of each local chapter, who undertook “external activities” and spoke about a specific “uniform” of the hardline Nikaia local chapter. Speaking about the matter of immigrants he said that “Golden Dawners wanted them out of Greece no matter what the cost, even with violent means”, and described an incident at a food charity [only for Greeks] where “there was a Pontiot from Russia, and Panagiotaros made us check whether he was a repatriated Greek, if he was a Pakistani we were to throw him into the sea”. The witness discussed the attack on the Free Community Space of Ilioupoli “Synergeio”, an attack that was headed by Lagos and Michos. He pointed out that the participation of members in violent activities was applauded and not once had there been any sort of disapproval. The membership card had a number which corresponded to a number in the organization’s ledgers, and had no name on it so that the member would not be made known.

The witness also talked about the organization’s disciplinary council saying that if Lagos (who was the head of the disciplinary council) did something that would be seen as a disciplinary offence, this would have been looked into by the leader and only him. He went on to discuss the attack on the Antipnoia squat, confirming that Siatounis, who was a member of the central committee, had a knife and that the leadership’s reaction was to “claim no involvement”.

C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels

The witness answered in turn to questions by defense counsels Kontovazenitis, Michalolias G., Alexiadis, Velentza, Karydomatis.

The witness stated that he was active in Golden Dawn six months before the opening of the Southern Suburbs Local Chapter and that he had no contact with Patelis.

The witness stated that he knew personally neither Roupakias nor Fyssas and repeated that he believed that the attack had been planned by the leadership, but wants to believe that they didn’t order a murder. “Beat him up, sure, but I’d like to believe that they didn’t plan to kill him”, the witness said. The defense counsels questioned him at length about the letter that he sent to the organization’s leader before he left. The letter was shown to the witness and was read by defense counsel Michalolias Giorgos causing the civil action to erupt in protest, who asked to receive the document, which is what finally happened. The witness identified the letter, confirmed that it bore his signature and said that he had also sent letters to Pappas, Kasidiaris, and Georgakopoulos. When asked whether he had come at odds with Panagiotaros, the witness stated, without going into specifics, that Panagiotaros was frequently abusive and that he wanted to control people financially, he wanted to have them “under his thumb”.

When asked about the possibility of monetary gain from the activities of Golden Dawn, the witness said that he had never noticed any such thing.