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DAY 77: TESTIMONY OF WITNESS N. CHATZIEFSTRATIOU

77th Hearing, Court of Appeals, July 19th, 2016

1. 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 significant attendance by the public, as well as members of the press.

2. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the start of the hearing were 16 defendants, out of a total of 18 who have been ordered to personally appear in court. The defense counsel for Tsakanikas stated that her client couldn’t get the day off from work.

3. Witness testimony of Nikolaos Chatziefstratiou

These are the main points of the testimony:

I was friends with Fyssas since 2003 or 2004. On September 17th, 2013, we went for a beer along with low pi, synco (Seirlis), Melachrinopoulos, and Pakiotis. There was another guy with us, I think his name was Ilias, and a girl. We were in a café and at some point Seirlis said that we should meet up with Pavlos and we drove to Koralli. In Koralli we found Pavlos, his girlfriend, and Doulvaris. I remember that in the café were two guys that weren’t watching the football match, but instead were staring at us. I remember one of them, he was wearing camo pants and army boots. The other one was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. One of them was around forty, had a goatee, and his hair was grey and similar to mine in length. The other one was over thirty, with close-cropped hair, or else he was bald. At some point one of them got up and when he passed by us, he bumped us by mistake. I remember Pavlos telling me “Why are they staring at us like that? It’s annoying.” I told him “Pay them no mind, they’re Golden Dawn” and he kept laughing. We didn’t argue with them. Our group was still in the café and I got out to talk to my girlfriend on the cellphone. I saw the two guys standing in front of the open trunk of their car which was parked right behind our own. I saw one of them just sitting there staring at me. I saw the grey-haired man put on his gloves. The rest of my friends came out of the café. The two guys kept staring at us. At that point I saw someone else making one phone call after the other. Pakiotis was complaining about a stomachache, so one of us took him to get a taxi. We wanted to get our car but we couldn’t. They kept staring at us. Their trunk was open. We were discussing how we were going to leave. Another guy came on a motorbike to intercede. I don’t know if they had called him on the phone and if he was trying to delay us, but we spent five minutes talking to him. I proposed that we go get a beer. I saw a DIAS squad pass by and seconds later some 30 people arrived on motorbikes. The bikes came rushing from Tsaldari and into Kefallinias Street. They came towards Koralli. At that point a car stopped at the same side, some motorbikes passed it by and others stopped behind it. Roupakias, who was the driver of the car, asked directions to Koralli. Pavlos was the one to answer but I bent towards the car window, too. There was a man sitting next to him on the front seat and a blonde woman in the backseat. There were people walking along Tsaldari and the street had some traffic. We heard swearing. We looked towards Kefallinias, towards Koralli, that is, and saw people coming from Tsaldari. There were a lot of them, but not more than forty people. Probably around thirty of them. I heard them say “Come on you pussies”, “We’ll fuck you up”, “We’ll kill you”. One of them said to Pavlos “You pussy I’ll break you, I’ll kill you, I’ll fuck you up” and other insults. He was shouting mainly at Pavlos. He wore a beige t-shirt, had short hair, and had a height of about 1,80 m. At that point the DIAS squad arrived and one of the policemen came between that guy and Pavlos. The entire group was across the street. More people kept showing up. Pavlos said let’s run. The last image I have of him is Pavlos backing away slowly and the others coming close. Their behavior was aggressive. One of them was holding something black, like a crowbar. I think that in Kefallinias Street there was another guy holding something that looked like a stick. At first I went to a yard, and then passed through a pilotis with some of the others. I called the police. When the police came, they put all four of us in the backseat of a patrol car and handcuffed us. Before we got into the patrol car we gave them our ID’s and told them that it was us who had called the police. While in the patrol car we heard that Pavlos had been stabbed. I don’t remember how we heard it, it was either in the police radio or someone phoned Seirlis. We didn’t yet know that he had died. At the police station we saw Roupakias, who was very cool, and when we learned that Pavlos had died, he left.

4. Questions by the court

The presiding judge then asked the witness to identify the defendants. The witness said that after three years he can only identify Roupakias.

The state prosecutor then asked the witness if the man talking on the phone was earlier in Koralli, and if the people he saw there had been speaking on the phone. The witness said that he didn’t know if the man was inside, but he was talking on the phone telling people to come. As for the man who was inside, the witness stated that he saw him send text messages. When questioned by the deputy state prosecutor how he could be sure that the man was sending text messages, the witness said that the movement of his fingers was such that left no doubt. The state prosecutor then asked why Fyssas didn’t run and why hadn’t the witness gone back and help Fyssas when he saw the others 2 feet from him and ready to attack. The witness said that Fyssas probably stayed back to try and resolve the situation, and that for the past three years the witness has been berating himself for having left his friend alone. But if he had stayed, he might have been killed too. Responding to another question by the deputy state prosecutor the witness stated that in the open trunk he saw something that looked like wooden bats.

5. Examination by the civil action counsels

Responding to questions by civil action counsel Ch. Papadopoulou, the witness stated that Fyssas’ girlfriend was there with him. He said that a group of that size can’t have met up simply by chance.

To civil action counsel E. Tobatzoglou the witness said that it seemed to him that the man in the car (Roupakias) that asked them about the way to Koralli was with the others. He also said that they were strip searched in the police station.

To civil action counsel V. Kougiatsou, concerning the attack against the PAME members, he said that all the leftists that were attacked had been targeted.

To A. Tzellis he answered that the pseudonym “killah p” means kill the past, and that his own “Deadly” refers to his offensive volley serve.

Responding to questions by T. Zotos the witness stated that as soon as he heard about the death of his friend he had a panic attack inside the police station and he was transferred to the Nikaia General Hospital. When he came out of the hospital he gave a testimony. He also said that he has witnessed a Golden Dawn attack against immigrants in the amusement park his girlfriend was working. Finally, he said that Golden Dawn is against immigrants, homosexuals, and leftists.

Responding to questions by Th. Kabagiannis he said that both those inside and outside Koralli had been Golden Dawners. They [:the Fyssas group] were outnumbered 10 to 1 and even if all of them had stayed behind to help Pavlos, the power balance would not have shifted in their favor, since the Golden Dawners were much more numerous.

6. Cross-examination by the defense counsels

First to take the floor was defense counsel Markou (for I. Aggou). Defense counsel Markou asked the witness whether the Fyssas group had said any insulting words concerning the others. The witness stated that between them they said that “Those fuckers won’t let us get near our car” but the others didn’t hear it.

Next to take the floor was N. Kontovazenitis (for A. Anadiotis). The witness stated that he didn’t have visual contact with the spot where the crime was committed.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Oplantzakis (for Kazantzoglou) the witness stated that the thirty people had come in an organized attempt to beat up whoever was different and that a beating can also lead to death. The witness went on to state that the Golden Dawners had been staring at Fyssas because he was a well-known rapper in Piraeus. Responding to another question by the defense counsel the witness stated that Golden Dawners never showed up at a rap concert wearing GD insignia. The defense counsel continued his questioning by asking about the songs of Fyssas. The witness answered that the lyrics for the song “Evaggelia” [:Gospels] were written by him. When asked whether Fyssas was against religion, the witness answered that he himself was, but not Fyssas. As he said, Fyssas was supportive of religion, but above all supportive of humanity. Concerning the information that Roupakias was asking on the street, the witness stated that he probably asked if he was in Kefallinias Street.

Defense counsel Velentza then took the floor. The witness stated that the testimony that he gave after the nervous breakdown was incomplete, and he did not recount many of the things that he heard on the night in question such as “Come here you bitch”, “Come here you pussies”, “We’ll kill you”, and more.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Tsagas the witness stated that just a few days before the testimony he had had a panic attack. They gave him an injection in the Nikaia General Hospital and then kept him for two hours until he got better. Then he was taken to GADA [:the Attica General Police Directorate] to give his testimony. The defense counsel then tried to question the witness about an interview that he has given. The presiding judge did not allow the questions because the complete interview will be read later in the course of the trial. The presiding judge then rejected questions by the defense counsel connected with the photographs he was submitting.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Roubekas the witness answered that he is a person that is not afraid to speak with courage. Pavlos was telling him that he should be careful or one day they would find him [:the witness] slaughtered. The witness also stated that it was the first time that he abandoned a friend in dire straits, and that there was this one time that a friend of his was being robbed in front of him, and he stepped in to help. He also stated that Fyssas was involved in arguments once or twice in the past but he was a person that usually had fun and laughed a lot. Responding to the question by the defense counsel about who was physically stronger, Roupakias or Fyssas, the witness said “the one holding the knife”.

Responding to questions by defense counsel Bonis about whether the others’ car was blocking their car, the witness said that they [:the two men] had been standing outside their car and they would have to pass by them to get at their own car.

Responding to a question by defense counsel Mammis whether the sense of panic or stress can ever be expressed with an attack, the witness said that it has only ever happened to him when he was little.

Responding to questions by G. Michalolias the witness said that whoever saw those people standing by the car, they would suppose it was their car. Responding to another question he stated that he didn’t notice Golden Dawn insignia when the group was on the bikes, but he did when they got on foot. He also said that not once did someone call them by name and he doesn’t know if another person in the group heard the phrase “kill them”.

Finally, responding to a question from defense counsel Markou about whether he believes in God, the witness stated that “I believe in god, but I don’t believe in your god”.

At this point the presiding judge adjourned for Thursday, July 21st, at 09:00, in the Court of Appeals.

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