Day 78: Testimony of witnesses Roupakia (continued) and Christidis

78th Hearing, Athens Court of Appeals, 21 July 2016

1. 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.

2. Presence and representation of the defendants

Only two defendants, Ioannis Komianos and Giorgos Roupakias, were in attendance. Sixteen of the 18 defendants whose presence had been made mandatory by the court were absent.

3. Resumption of the cross-examination of witness Chrysoula Roupakia by the civil action

Chrysoula Roupakia, a sister of defendant Roupakias, returned to the witness stand.

Kostas Papadakis, the civil action lawyer representing the Egyptian fishermen, resumed the cross-examination of the witness, who said she was unaware of any attack on a Communist Party of Greece (KKE) municipal councillor or whether the Syriza’s election kiosk in Piraeus had been attacked. Neither was she aware of the assault on the Egyptian fishermen. She had never heard anyone saying “the Egyptians do whatever they like and sell for whatever they like, but now they account to Golden Dawn”. The witness stated that she had never been submitted to an inspection by Golden Dawn with regards to her business. Papadakis asked the witness about the Golden Dawn events she had attended at Thermopylae, Perivolaki (in Nikea), Imia and Meligalas; she said she couldn’t recall the speeches or the speakers.

Responding to questions from Haris Stratis, counsel for the All Workers Militant Front (PAME) trade unionists, the witness said she attended Golden Dawn events as excursions.

Civil action lawyer Manos Malagaris asked the witness why she had gone to Thermopylae. She had gone because of Leonidas and the 300. She went to Meligalas for the people who had been slaughtered there by the communists.

Civil action lawyer Angelos Vrettos followed up by asking why she had gone to Perivolaki; the witness replied it was for the racism against Greeks. The speakers had included Golden Dawn MPs Ioannis Lagos and Ilias Kasidiaris. In a picture she was shown by the lawyer, the witness recognised Giorgos Patelis holding weapons.

In reply to civil action lawyer Thodoris Theodoropoulos, the witness said she had been moved by her brother’s activism in support of Greeks as well as by Golden Dawn’s distribution of food and clothing and its blood drives for Greeks. The lawyer then asked Roupakia about social media. The witness said she had chatted on Facebook with Golden Dawn followers like Spartiatis Lakedemonios and Maniatissa Hellenida. She said she had closed her Facebook account three days after the homicide. Theodoropoulos protested that this raised the issue of the evidence that must be read out after the witnesses and experts have been examined. “In a year-and-a-half when the ‘to read’ documents are read out, we won’t be able to find the witness to question her based on what emerges from those ‘to read’ documents.”

The witness said her brother had a Facebook account and had asked his children to delete his profile. Her brother’s relationship with Golden Dawn was more frequent than his relationship with her but that this didn’t mean that his relationship with the group was closer than their relationship.

4. Cross-examination by the defence

Answering questions from defence lawyer Nikos Kontovazenitis, the witness said that there had been a police presence at Meligalas and that the event had been attended by the local mayor. She hadn’t witnessed any incidents at that event. She also stated that Fyssas and Roupakias had never met before.

Vasilis Oplantzakis, the defence lawyer for Ioannis Kazantzoglou, asked the witness about his client’s personal effects that had been found in her car. Roupakia said her brother had mentioned that he had been with “Tsich” (Kazantzoglou) the day before to distribute some leaflets; he told her that Kazantzoglou had forgotten his mobile phone either in the visor or the glove compartment. Roupakia said that she had learned about Kazantzoglou’s phone just before her deposition to the investigating magistrate, Ioanna Klapa, and that she had learned about his bag in December. She didn’t know the mobile phone was in his bag. She subsequently saw that the bag contained an ID card, mobile phone, and a €50 note. When she had gone to Malandrino [the location of a high-security prison in Fokida] in December, her brother told her that Kazantzoglou had given him the bag so it wouldn’t fall off his waist.

Dimitra Velentza, another defence lawyer for Kazantzoglou, asked if someone would leave his bag with a person preparing to commit murder. The witness replied, “of course not”. The lawyer then proceeded to censure both how the witness’ statement had been taken as well as how her car had been impounded. The presiding judge stated that only the witness herself could raise such objections.

Attorney Ioannis Pagonas, counsel for Komianos, also raised objections to the manner in which the witness had been questioned during the investigation. The presiding judge instructed the lawyer to ask questions about facts and that the witness was the only one who could take legal action if she deemed that the investigation had been improperly conducted.

Questioned by Anastasios Tsagkas on behalf of his client, defendant Christoforos Michalaros, the witness stated that her younger brother had been hospitalised for a few hours to be treated for high blood pressure after someone burst into the fish shop shouting. She had received threats and that both her fish shops had been torched three days after the trial had begun; one was completely destroyed.

In reply to her brother’s defence lawyer, Giorgos Roumpekas, the witness said her brother was a careless driver and she wasn’t surprised that he had turned the wrong way down a one-way street.

Questioned by Panagiotis Spyropoulos, defence lawyer for Athanasios Tsorvas, the witness stated that Tsorvas’ sister was married to her cousin. Roupakia said that the only information she had about whether or not Tsorvas had been in the car on the night of the homicide had come from an anonymous person. She said she didn’t know how traces of Tsorvas’ DNA had been found in her car. As far as she knew, Tsorvas had driven there in his own car.

Dimitris Papadellis, defence lawyer for Ilias Kasidiaris, asked how many people had been at the Perivolaki event and if she could’ve left early if something had displeased her at the event. Andreas Tzelis, civil action lawyer for the Fyssas family, objected to the formulation of the questions. Papadellis replied: “If you want something, Mr Tzelis, come over here”. The presiding judge called a 30-minute recess.

After the break, Papadellis asked the witness about the Golden Dawn event at Meligalas. She stated that she had gone with her husband and that the anniversary is marked every year.

Asked by defence lawyer Giorgos Michalolias about her conversation with Styliani Masouropoulou Masouropoulou [a former election candidate for the Independent Greeks party], the witness said that Kasidiaris was suing her koumbara [Masouropoulou is the godmother of Roupakia’s daughter]; her koumbara had said that if Kasidiaris had been charged as a result of their conversation, she would assume her responsibility.

Responding to defendant Anastasios Pantazis’ lawyer Stathis Karydomatis, the witness stated that she had never sensed that the Golden Dawn party or its officials were motivated by profit.

5. Testimony of witness Christos Christidis

Christos Christidis, who owns a shop near the crime scene, was then called to the witness stand.

A summary of his testimony follows: “I own a pastry shop at 58 Panayi Tsaldari street, whose address is now 58 Pavlou Fyssa street. It is my business. I don’t have any closed-circuit cameras except some boxes. That night, my mother closed the shop around 10.30pm. My father and I opened up the next morning around 8.30am. I only saw reporters there that morning, who told us about the homicide. The street was not open to traffic. We didn’t know anything and so no one bothered us. That afternoon, Nikos Dendias [the public order minister] came by with someone from the police press department. They asked us if we had closed-circuit cameras and we said no.”

Replying to questions from the civil action lawyers, the witness said he did not know anyone who may have been an eyewitness to the homicide. He also stated that the Fyssas memorial had been vandalised twice.

The witness was also questioned by the defence lawyers. He said there were no closed-circuit cameras in his store; the cameras he had were just fake boxes, just as he had said in his deposition. He also stated that Dendias and the police officer had asked him about the cameras and examined them for about two minutes.

6. Lawyers’ statements

Velentza filed a motion noting that Dendias’ visit to the scene is not properly mentioned anywhere.

Papadakis requested that Achilleas Nikolaou and Vasilis Handrinos be summoned to testify as Christidis’ testimony had made clear that his selection as witness had been unfortunate.

The lawyers for defendants Pantazis, Nikos Michos, Artemis Mattheopoulos, Christos Pappas, Panagiotis Ilioupoulos, Nikos Kouzilos, Giorgos Germenis, Elpidoforos Kalaritis and Thomas Barekas asked that former minister Dendias be summoned to testify.

The proceedings were adjourned until Monday, 25 July 2016, when DIAS officer Anastasios Tsolakidis is expected to testify.