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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-04-19

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Historic Golden Dawn trial to begin on Monday

  • [01] Historic Golden Dawn trial to begin on Monday

    ANA-MPA -- The historic and unprecedented trial of party president Nikos Mihaloliakos and the leadership of his ultra-right Golden Dawn party - the first time since World War 2 that a Parliamentary party in Greece or on a global level is charged as a criminal organisation - is to begin on Monday, 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 in his arguments on the case, 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 also 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 carreid 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, meanwhile, 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 say 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 defence lawyers, numerous attorneys representing civil suits, as well as hundreds of witnesses. Among the 69 defendants are all the MPs in Golden Dawn's previous Parliamentary group.

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

    Also up on charges 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 in racist attacks, while Alexopoulos is charged with "public hate rhetoric" against the democratic state and against groups targeted by GD as "racial or political enemies".

    The judicial investigation into the party's activities was launched after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas by Giorgos Roupakias on September 18, 2013 in Keratsini, during an attack also involving other Golden Dawn supporters. An investigation of the incident showed that members of the party had coordinated their actions on that evening, 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 and had stagnated 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 organisation operating since 1987 to the present day with a military structure, hierarchy and branches throughout the country." He said party leader Mihaloliakos acted as "F├╝hrerprinzip" and Christos Pappas as second in command, while violence was Golden Dawn's central message.

    Nikos Mihaloliakos 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 organisation charge is supported by the evidence presented.

    In addition to the Fyssas murder, the trial is also expected to look into the party's role in the murder of a Pakistani worker, attacks on Communist Party of Greece (KKE) members in Perama, attacks on Egyptian fishermen, attacks on centres in Ilioupolis, on Crete and in other areas. The prosecution's proposal stresses the Nazi-type structure of the party, Mihaloliakos' leading role and the fact that its action peaked after 2012 when GD entered Parliament.


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