Despite having 15 eyewitnesses – including four police officers – to the murder of a hip-hop artist for which a member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party was arrested, prosecutors are having a hard time making any of them talk, apparently out of fear they could be next.
Pavlos Fyssas, 34, was stabbed to death on Sept. 18 outside a cafe in a southern Athens neighborhood where he had gone to watch a soccer game with some friends. After an exchange of words with a group said to be Golden Dawn, the extremists reportedly called for reinforcements and police said about 40 of them showed up and attack Fyssas and his friends.
But while a big crowd of people told police what they saw at the time, prosecutors said they are now refusing to testify, fearing for their safety and their lives. There was no word on whether the police – said to be Golden Dawn sympathizers – would be compelled to talk as part of their duty as law enforcement officials. The witnesses said they saw Giorgos Roupakias stab Fyssas after being unable to get the best of him physically.
Roupakias initially claimed that he had been in the cafeteria throughout the evening to watch a football match. His wife contradicted him in her statement and claimed that he was at home when he received a phone call, prompting Roupakias to head to the cafeteria. She was not able to identify who contacted her husband, so the police will be examining his telephone records to locate the caller.
Fyssas’ mother said a dozen DIAS police officers stood by and watched the murder and did nothing to help her son. Police have said both that there were officers and present and that there weren’t, and that they responded only after the attack.
She told SKAI TV that Fyssas’s girlfriend had run to the policemen nearby when the group of friends the 34-year-old rapper was with were chased by a gang of about 50 Golden Dawn supporters. She also said that a witness recorded the attack as it unfolded and handed over the video to the Police. There’s no information on what happened to it.
Meanwhile, friends of the 45-year-old Roupakias revealed that his relationship with Golden Dawn became stronger when he was evicted from his previous apartment. Roupakias was unable to support his family from his occasional work at the fishmongers, so the party actively supported him and employed both his wife and daughter.
So far the investigation has reportedly showed that Roupakias received more than five phone calls before and during the knife attack against Fyssas, with the police now trying to identify the callers. One of the calls appears to have been made by the head of the Nikea chapter of Golden Dawn.
The police will also examine the messages found on Roupakias’ phone, which appear to be unrelated to the murder, but could provide clues as to Roupakias’ role in Golden Dawn.
The killing sparked a night of furious protests against the neo-Nazis, with people taking to the streets in Athens and other cities around the country to denounce the extremists as riot police tried to keep control.