Historic Golden Dawn Trial is Expected to Last Roughly a Year



Golden Dawn TrialThe historic and unprecedented trial of party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and the leadership of his extreme-right Golden Dawn party – the first time since World War II that a Parliamentary party in Greece or on a global level is charged as a criminal organization – is scheduled to begin today, in a specially adapted courtroom in Korydallos prison.

The Appeals Court justices presiding will be called on to make a historically important decision and judge whether Golden Dawn is a legitimate political party or a Nazi-type criminal group operating under the guise of a political party.

According to Appeals Court chief prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos, the founding of Golden Dawn was an “abusive exercise of the right to found a party” since it did not serve the operation of a democratic system of government and sought to impose its goals through violence. They judges are also expected to deliver justice for the victims of the defendants’ actions and decide whether these were the targeted actions of a structured and fully coordinated criminal group. Among others, the court must decide if these acts were carried out “in implementation of the founding ‘principles’ and goals” of Golden Dawn or whether they were isolated incidents not connected to directions given or choices made by the party.

The choice of the Korydallos courtroom as a venue has sparked controversy with reactions from the local authority, which fears the trial will seriously disrupt the municipality and a large number of schools in the area. Complaints were also voiced by lawyers and the media, who said the venue is too small to enable them to properly do their job.

Once it begins, the trial is expected to last roughly a year and involves 69 defendants, more than 100 defense lawyers, numerous attorneys representing civil suits, as well as hundreds of witnesses. Among the 69 defendants are all Golden Dawn MPs of the previous Parliamentary group.

Three of the defendants do not face charges for the key offense in the case – the murder of musician Pavlos Fyssas – but only secondary charges. They include Margarita Mikelatou, the wife of the main suspect of Fyssas’ stabbing, Giorgos Roupakias, who is only charged with perjury, Theodoros Stefas, who is charged with illegal weapons possession and Anastasios Hilios, who is charged with weapons possession as well as with dealing and possession of drugs.

Also charged are two former Golden Dawn MPs, Stathis Boukouras and Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, who later denounced the party and its practices during the course of the investigation, resigning from its Parliamentary group to become independents. In spite of this, Boukouras is still charged with leading a Golden Dawn ‘attack squad’ in Corinth, responsible for racist attacks, while Alexopoulos is charged with “public hate rhetoric” against the democratic state and groups targeted by Golden Dawn as “racial or political enemies.”

The judicial investigation into the party’s activities was launched after Fyssas’ murder by Roupakias on September 18, 2013, during an attack also involving other Golden Dawn supporters.

An investigation of the incident showed that party members had coordinated their actions, instructing Roupakias to go to the location where Fyssas and his friends could be found.

Acting on a letter sent by then Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, Supreme Court Prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani ordered that the preliminary investigation be broadened to include a series of racist attacks that had been reported as isolated cases throughout the country. This led to a report by Supreme Court Deputy Prosecutor Haralambos Vourliotis describing Golden Dawn as an “active Nazi-type criminal organization operating since 1987 with a military structure, hierarchy and branches across the country.”

Vourliotis said party leader Michaloliakos acted as “Führerprinzip” and Christos Pappas as second in command, while violence was Golden Dawn’s central message. Michaloliakos and leading party members were then arrested in September 2013 and many of them were remanded in custody. The case comes to trial with an Appeals Justices’ Council indictment that also includes the minority opinion of Appeals Justice Nikos Salatas, who presented the case, raising questions about whether the criminal organization charge is supported by the evidence presented.

In addition to Fyssas’ murder, the trial is also expected to look into the party’s role in the murder of a Pakistani worker, attacks on Greek Communist Party (KKE) members, attacks on Egyptian fishermen, as well as various other attacks across the country. The prosecution’s proposal stresses the party’s Nazi-type structure, Michaloliakos’ leading role and the fact that its action peaked after 2012 when Golden Dawn entered the Greek Parliament.
(source: ana-mpa)


5 COMMENTS

  1. Members of Golden Dawn – Greece’s third largest party – have reacted angrily to the trial, stating that it is politically motivated.

    “The case file for Golden Dawn MPs does not include a single criminal act. It regards only speeches. From these speeches, they want to condemn us. Because a supporter, a follower, a friend or whatever of Golden Dawn was found to have committed a crime, it is the collective fault of the parliamentary group, the leader of Golden Dawn, and we are all in prison. This was convenient for all of you, and the Left, and the Right, all of you. Golden Dawn’s support was burgeoning and that’s why you sent us to prison. That is the truth.” said Ioannis Lagos, Golden Dawn MP for Piraeus, in whose constituency Leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas was killed.

    Even opponents of Golden Dawn have expressed concern at the trial.

    “We can only see this politically,” said Voula Patoulidou, a councillor for the region of Thessaloniki and 1992 Olympics gold medal-winning hurdler. She was accused of being a Golden Dawn supporter for questioning the trial, but pointed out that Syriza MP and anti-Nazi hero Manolis Glezos also questioned the trial. “Is he a supporter?” Mrs Patoulidou said.

  2. You are not kidding anyone. All of Greece knows, (and you know it as well but you won’t admit it,) that it is ludicrous to attempt to label an entire political party as a criminal organization because a supporter killed a political opponent in a street brawl following a football match. How can Golden Dawn Members of Parliament be held responsible for the acts of a supporter? The arrests and trial are politically motivated, they were ordered by the previous New Democracy-Pasok coalition government as a method of dismantling Golden Dawn because it was cutting into New Denocracy’s voter base as was revealed by Takis BALTAKOS who served as Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister Antonia Samaras. You are the criminal, as you wish to see innocent Golden Dawn MP’s and supporters imprisoned simply because you disagree with their political beliefs. You don’t believe in democracy, nor in justice.

  3. Golden Dawn did very well at the January 2015 election, they managed to emerge as the 3rd largest political party in the country despite half their MP’s sitting in prison on pre-trial detention, others under house arrest, barred from speaking to the press, state funding cut off, etc. It was an amazing effort, and a result that infuriated there opponents. Many GD voters actually held their nose and voted SYRIZA simply to end the rule of the hated, ultra corrupt Samaras-Venizelos coalition government. Many right wing conservatives voted SYRIZA, because SYRIZA promised to end cooperation with the Troika and end the bailout program, NOT because they support Leftist Marxist ideology. SYRIZA is not delivering.

    Let’s check SYRIZA’s popularity in 12 months time. It will have plummeted as Greek citizens observe SYRIZA continueing to implement the hated Troika bailout memorandum, and their economic hardships worsen, not to mention the increased numbers and visibility of illegal immigrants on the streets of Greek towns and cities and the accompanying crime, and possibly Islamic terrorism. Today Greek police arrested an 18 year old Albanian Muslim Jihadist at the Kakavia border crossing station between Greece and Albania!