95th Hearing, Court of Appeals, October 20th, 2016

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. Compared with other hearings, audience and journalist attendance was limited.

II. Presence and representation of the defendants

Present at the start of the proceedings was defendant Komianos. Most of the defendants were absent without representation, and only fourteen (14) defendants were represented by their counsels.

III. Comments concerning the witness testimonies by Abu Hamed Ahmed, Abu Hamed Mohamed, Abu Hamed Saad, Konstantinos Tatsiopoulos, and Evaggelia Polychronidou. (Article 358, CCP)

The first to take the floor was civil action counsel Thanasis Kabagiannis (for the Egyptian fishermen). The counsel commented on the identification of the defendants by the witnesses and the leading role played by defendant Pantazis. He went on to say that the Egyptian fishermen, victims themselves of an attack, even though not included in the list of protected witnesses, personally appeared before the court to testify everything they know, despite their fears. He also said that the accusations by the defense counsel about the training of witnesses are moot, since on the dock sit only the five defendants accused in the Egyptian fishermen case. The counsel said that it would be very simple for the witnesses to identify all five of the defendants present. Instead, they elaborated on individual identifications. Concerning the criminal organization accusation, the counsel said that it is clear from the witnesses’ testimonies that the modus operandi in the cases of Fyssas and the Egyptian fishermen is identical. Golden Dawn is certifiably present at the attack from the start. It was the first thing mentioned by the civilian that called the police. The whole neighborhood believes that Golden Dawn came to attack the immigrants. This can be deduced by the presence of Golden Dawn t-shirts. Witness Tatsiopoulos mentioned in his own testimony a man that was left unconscious by the beating he received from the Golden Dawners, and who could easily have died.

Civil action counsel Skarmeas said that the witness testimonies proceed along the same lines and confirm the order of the events and the time of the attack. He claimed that the leading role played by Pantazis became clear. The witness Ahmed Abu Hamed identified the witness on sight and recognized his voice. The counsel went on to say that the speech given by the Golden Dawn MP Lagos, only 2 km away from the scene of the attack, 7 hours before the attack was not a coincidence,. As he said, the perpetrators had been waiting for an order from above.

Civil action counsel Zotos said that it was demonstrated by the testimonies that the perpetrators of the attempted murder were members of Golden Dawn. The condition of Embarak Abuzheed as shown in his own testimony, as well as others’, clearly shows the perpetrators’ murderous intent. Ahmed saw the perpetrators through the broken window and had plenty of time to take a good look at them. The counsel also said that the witness could very well see outside, given the lighting conditions in the street and the fact that the lights were on in the house, despite the defense counsel’s attempts to discredit the witness. Finally, he said that it isn’t clear from what the witnesses testified whether the police conducted a search for fingerprints on the wooden clubs, in the Egyptians’ cars and house, or on the defendants’ motorbikes and in their houses. If there’s someone that has any right to complain about the pretrial procedure, then it is the victims, not the defense counsels.

Civil action counsel Papadakis commented that the witness testimonies agree with the court decree on the accusations against the defendants. The witness testimonies made clear that the decree rightly mentions Golden Dawn members with black clothes and weapons, who caused extensive damage and hurled insults, and rightly connects the attack with the video of Lagos that was taken a few hours before the attack. The decree is incorrect only regarding the order of events, which has been reconstructed from the witness testimonies, because the perpetrators first attacked at the roof and then went down and tried to enter the house.  Then, as he said, they destroyed the vehicles. According to the witnesses, the attack had been preceded by another attempt at the fishmonger’s. The counsel claimed that it was shown that the plan had been premeditated. The method used by the attackers was to proceed to the next stage if the previous one failed. He went on to say that the leading role of Pantazis and the separate role of Agriogiannis became absolutely clear. He also said there were no irregularities during the witness examination, either at the preliminary stage or at the hearing, and that the lack of interpreters, the speed of the testimony, and the detailed or general questions do not invalidate the credibility of the witnesses. The identification of the perpetrators was unconditional and final. According to the witness testimonies there were no differences to be settled between the perpetrators and the victims. On the contrary, the speech by Lagos a few hours earlier, who said that they (the G.D.) hate the Egyptian fishermen, followed by the attack itself, shows the opposite. The civil action counsel also commented on the fact that even though Lagos is clearly the one giving the order, he doesn’t sit in the dock as an accessory before the fact.

Then he provided the court with names and addresses of persons that according to the witnesses were present at the scene of the attack, and requested that said persons be called to testify as eyewitnesses. He also motioned to repeal the police cd that contains photos from the attack, which is not included in the case file, and stated that he consents to his colleague’s request for a medical expert opinion. He requested for the expert opinion concerning Embarak’s condition when he was admitted to be sent to the court.

The floor was then given to civil action counsel Andreas Tzellis (for the Fyssas family). The counsel said that the witness testimonies revealed their fear but also their belief that the attack was carried out by Golden Dawn. It has been made absolutely clear that it was members of Golden Dawn that executed the murderous attack on the Egyptians’ house. As he said, the event had been doubly foreshadowed. A Golden Dawn MP had announced the attack before it happened, and a member of Golden Dawn had said during the attack “Now we’ll show you what Golden Dawn can do.” The cases resemble each other in the separation of roles and in the precise timing that was observed. The civil action counsel went on to say that the witnesses’ credibility was demonstrated from the fact that there were no signs of witness training. A trained witness wouldn’t have given such a description. The defendants were identified by every witness beyond a shadow of a doubt. He also commented that the preliminary process was marked by tragic missteps, as it was shown from the witness testimonies.

The civil action counsel Kougiatsou stated that the cases of Fyssas and the Egyptian fishermen resemble each other in the following ways: Rapid deployment; the use of motorbikes; that the attackers didn’t try to hide the fact that the attack had been planned and that they were members of Golden Dawn; that they caused fear and panic to ordinary citizens; the fact that they had provided for any event. They had even predicted that they might fail to gain access to the interior of the house and so had brought with them a fire extinguisher, to force the victims out of the house, and so commit their murderous act. The civil action counsel then commented that the Golden Dawn’s toxic ideology makes obedient instruments of its members and rewards its more ardent proponents.

In his comments civil action counsel Sapountzakis (for PAME) stated that the witness testimonies cleared up the manner of the attack, the hierarchy, the targeting, the planning, and the unprovoked nature of the act.

Civil action Stratis stated that the witness testimonies described the role of every perpetrator, and especially the leading role played by Pantazis. Also, that the planning of the attack and the racist leanings of the group were conclusively proven. He also said that the testimonies showed that what the Golden Dawn MP Lagos said in the video was true, i.e. that the Egyptians will answer to Golden Dawn.

Civil action counsel Malagaris stated that the translation of the Egyptian witnesses’ testimonies to Greek does not diminish their credibility. The Egyptians can’t speak perfect Greek, but the investigators and the registrar of the court convey the witnesses’ statements without changing the meaning in the slightest. Concerning the argument of the defense that there’s no connection between Golden Dawn and the attack, the counsel said that it’s not possible for Embarak to have differences with his employer, and to end up wrongly accusing a legal party of the Greek Parliament.
Civil counsel Zafeiriou stated that the mode of the attack reveals the attackers’ deadly intent and their numerical advantage. She went on to compare the cases and said that usually the victim is alone and unprotected, and that the perpetrators usually leave the scene on motorbikes under cover of darkness. They are always armed with wooden or iron clubs, but also with hate against their ideological opponents.

Civil action counsel Vrettos said that the witnesses contributed to the search for truth and stated that the rules of common sense and the testimonies of the witnesses managed to establish the court decree despite repeated attempts to discredit the work done by the investigators. He also stated that the witnesses’ educational and mental levels do not diminish their credibility. The misanthropic and racist character of the attack was proven by the testimonies, it’s a criminal act that was carried out in the night, against an unarmed and sleeping man, with crowbars, and he also said that the crime in question was very dangerous.

Civil action counsel Theodoropoulos stated that the hearing and the witness testimonies bore out the decree, and that the evidence showed that it was Golden Dawn that attacked. The witness, he said, clearly described the time, the number of the attackers, the weapons, the mode of attack, and there’s nothing contrary included in the court decree. He also stated that it was proven there was deceitful intention and the joint commission of a criminal offense. The counsel went on to also submit the request by Papadakis for the calling of new witnesses.

At this point the comments by the civil action counsels came to an end. The court adjourned for Monday, October 24th, at 09:00, at the Women’s Wing of the Korydallos Prison, when the defense counsels will proceed with their own comments.