Day 76: Testimony of witness Roupakia (continued)

76th Hearing, Ceremonial Hall, Athens Court of Appeals, 18 July 2016

Ι.Court access

The courtroom remains open to the public on presentation of a state ID card, which the police retain for the duration of the session. Spectators and press were present.

ΙΙ.Presence and representation of the defendants

Sixteen of the 18 defendants whose physical presence was mandated by the court were in attendance; 27 defendants were recorded as absent, while the representation of the remainder was discussed during the day’s proceedings.

ΙΙΙ. Cross-examination of Chrysoula Roupakia by the civil action

Chrysoula Roupakia, a sister of Giorgos Roupakias, the defendant accused of stabbing Pavlos Fyssas, was called to return to the witness stand.

Andreas Tzelis began the civil action’s cross-examination of the witness. She stated that she didn’t know if her brother had a post in Golden Dawn’s security team or in its cell. The witness said she had read online that her brother was treasurer and gave out Golden Dawn party [fundraising] coupons. She said Golden Dawn security team members wore black shirts with the party emblem, fatigues and army boots, and that she had seen her brother dressed like this on three or four occasions. Asked if she had social media contact with Golden Dawn, the witness said that in the aftermath of the Fyssas homicide, while seeking information about that night, she had chatted with someone from Golden Dawn on Facebook but did not remember his pseudonym. She had mentioned his pseudonym during a deposition and it was not her fault that it hadn’t been included by the investigating magistrate. The person she had chatted with had told her that Athanasios Tsorvas had been in her car that night with her brother and Ioannis Kazantzoglou. She said she had subsequently shut down her Facebook profile and reopened it months later. She had never met in person with the individual in the chat and claimed that what he’d said was never confirmed.

The lawyer asked the witness about her internet search on the night of the murder and why she had used the location “Amfiali” as a keyword. Introducing a new claim before the court, she said that when she had spoken with Roupakias, he had said “we had a fight in Amfiali and I’m being held at Keratsini [police] station”.

Responding to a question from civil action lawyer Ellada Christodoulou, the witness said that on those occasions she had attended events organised by Golden Dawn, she hadn’t worn clothes with the party’s emblem. The lawyer then submitted a photograph in which the witness recognised herself at a Golden Dawn event at Meligalas wearing a shirt with the party’s logo.

Civil action lawyer Chrysa Papadopoulou questioned the witness about her work. Roupakia said that at the time of the Fyssas homicide, she and her husband had two fish shops, one in Halandri and one in Pagrati, and employed one person. She added that her brother helped out at the shop every day when he wasn’t working at his heating fuel job. He wasn’t an employee of hers and wasn’t paid a full wage for his work, only pocket money. During the times when Roupakias helped out at the store, he came daily around 4am and worked through lunchtime; she said that on September 17, he had gone to the shop as usual.

The witness also said she still didn’t believe her brother had committed the homicide, despite his confession.

Papadopoulou showed the witness some pictures, prompting defence lawyer Dimitra Velentza to object that this was time consuming and unnecessary as the witness had already identified everyone she recognised. From the photos, the witness recognised her brother and his wife, her nephew and niece, Giorgos Patelis, Kazantzoglou, Thanasis (Athanasios) Tsorvas, and wearing clothes with Golden Dawn’s emblems at various meetings and events.

Questioned by civil action lawyer Takis Zotos about the murder weapon, the witness said it had been a random purchase from a street vendor and that she used it at work. She said the knife’s three grooves weren’t particularly useful to her. Asked about Kazantzoglou, the witness said her brother had introduced her to a man using the pseudonym “Tsich” and that she later learned from television that “Tsich” was Kazantzoglou and that his mobile phone, bag and ID card had been found in her car that night.

During cross-examination by civil action lawyer Thanasis Kampagiannis, the witness stated that on the night of the homicide, Roupakias hadn’t received a text message from Giorgos Dimou but that Dimou had called him on the phone. He said that after the phone call, they had each gone from their respective homes to the Golden Dawn branch office. The witness said that the “security” mentioned in her statement was some five or six people wearing Golden Dawn shirts, fatigues and army boots, and were the same as “patrols”. She’d seen this apparel at Golden Dawn events and had also seen her brother dressed this way. The lawyer showed the witness photos from Meligalas and asked her to describe the scene and layout. She said that most of the crowd outside the church wore black shirts and that everyone pictured in the front row wore fatigues. Asked about a Golden Dawn event she had attended, the witness said she wasn’t aware of a bulletin instructing participants to wear the Golden Dawn shirt and hadn’t known beforehand that they would all be wearing this shirt at the event. She said she had put on her Golden Dawn shirt so she could look like the others as she had happened to have it with her and changed into it at the event. The witness also described a photo showing a Golden Dawn shirt, two guns and a knife.

Civil action lawyer Panagiotis Sapountzakis asked the witness: “Do you believe Roupakias was dragged out of his car that night as he says? Did Fyssas go to the local branch that night or did Roupakias happen to be at the spot and attacked Fyssas?” An uproar followed and the witness did not reply. The lawyer continued: “The car is yours, the knife is yours, Roupakias is your brother, but you have nothing to do with the murder?”

The courtroom erupted into both protests and cheering.

The presiding judge adjourned the hearing until 9am, 19 July 2016. It was announced that the session would hear testimony from Fyssas’ friend Nikos Hatziefstratiou after Chrysoula Roupakia asked to be excused from the next date due to personal commitments. Her testimony is expected to continue at Athens Appeals Court on Thursday, 21 July 2016.