The Golden Dawn conviction was the expected outcome of a long judicial hearing, during which the three-member Athens Criminal Appeal Court came up against a vast body of evidential material and examined more than 200 witnesses. Below are the milestones in this historical trial in chronological order.
20 APRIL 2015
The trial begins in an entirely inappropriate courtroom in Korydallos Women’s Prison. Maria Lepenioti, an appeal court judge, presides, with fellow appeals court judges Gesthimani Tsoulfoglou and Andreas Dokos as members. There are more journalists present in the courtroom than defendants, many of whom chose to be represented by their lawyers.
Click here for a leaflet offering an overview of the trial, the four joint cases, the defendants and the charges.
Artemis Mattheopoulos is the only defendant present from the leading group, while the organisation’s leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, stays at home as he has already been released (on 4 March 2015 he completed the 18-month maximum period of pre-trial detention). Eventually, in the five-and-a-half-years the trial will last, the leader will appear before the judges only for the defence statement, while other leading members (Ilias Kasidiaris, Giorgos Germenis) will appear one more time: in order to request the court to suspend the execution of the sentences until the adjudication of the case in the second instance. Giannis Lagos, the only defendant and leading member of the criminal organisation protected by his parliamentary immunity as an MEP upon his conviction, will not ask for a suspension of the execution of his sentence. As for the rest of the defendants, their parliamentary immunity ended in July 2019 when Golden Dawn lost all its seats in the general election.
On the first day of the trial, two friends of Pavlos Fyssas, eyewitnesses to the murder and prosecution witnesses, are attacked by Golden Dawn supporters, which was a blatant, but fruitless, attempt to intimidate those who would testify against Golden Dawn.
7 MAY 2015
The trial continues with the submission of requests from both parties (regarding the appointment of lawyers, the inadequacy of the courtroom, etc.). The defence attorneys of the leading members try to exclude the civil action from the case regarding the charge of forming and directing a criminal organisation, but they fail. In retrospect, given how the trial unfolded, this was one of the most important decisions made during the hearing.
At this stage, the civil action’s request for audiovisual coverage of the trial is rejected. Takis Michalolias, brother and lawyer of Nikos Michaloliakos, opposes the request and aligns himself with the prosecutor, who also proposes its rejection. Interestingly, just three months earlier, Michaloliakos said the following in an interview: “I have made it clear that I want our trial to have taken place already … yesterday. (I want it) to have TV coverage and (I want) Europe to witness, page by page, the farcical case file. The courtroom is not Klapa’s or Dogiakos’ investigation office, functioning on the basis of ‘we decide and command’. [Ioanna Klapa was the investigating magistrate and Isidoros Dogiakos the prosecutor in the pre-trial proceedings. They put together the case file which led to the trial.] The hearing will be conducted by posing questions to the parties. The Greek media may be in a controlled service for covering up things, and will not reveal the truth, but I inform you that more than 150 of your colleagues from European TV networks have requested from our party to be present at this trial. Will they forbid it? MEPs from 10 countries will be present. Will they prevent them from entering the courtroom? Should a trial of unprecedented European interest not be covered by state TV so that Greek citizens can be duly informed whether we are a ‘criminal organisation’ or if Samaras and the corrupt judges he deployed should go to jail? [Samaras was prime minister and leader of the liberal-conservative New Democracy party when the Golden Dawn members were arrested.] They are afraid of the truth coming out and they’re panicking.”
It turns out that he was in panic himself when the monitoring initiative Golden Dawn Watch was set up, with the support of the Hellenic League for Human Rights, the Observatory for Fascist and Racist Discourse in the Media, the Antifascist Coordination of Athens and Piraeus and the Migrant Integration Council of the Municipality of Athens. It offered online live reporting from all the court hearings.
29 SEPTEMBER 2015
The court begins by examining the first case: the murder of Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini on 18 September 2013. Panagiotis Fyssas, Pavlos’ father, testifies first, followed by Magda Fyssa’s devastating testimony. In the years that followed, Pavlos’ mother would become a symbol of the antifascist movement and every September she leads the march commemorating the murder of her son, in which thousands of citizens participate. What the court established in its verdict on 7 October 2020, Magda Fyssa had already testified on 6 October 2015: “They came into my house and killed my child. Just like that! And I know that there is a criminal organisation called Golden Dawn which is also present in parliament.”
Testimonies of eyewitnesses, friends of Pavlos Fyssas, would follow, proving not only the organised nature of the attack. Police officers also take the stand: one of them states that after the murder, Giorgos Roupakias –Pavlos Fyssas’ murderer –smoked in peace and told him: “I’m one of you. I’m with Golden Dawn”. On 25 November, the judges examine Dimitra Zorzou, an eyewitness to the murder, who points to the defendant Ioannis Kazantzoglou as Roupakias’ co-driver. Kazantzoglou then threatens her inside the courtroom:“Do you remember me from that night? Let me go out and I will take care of her!”
12 JANUARY 2016
The first major delay in the Golden Dawn trial due to the defence. The defence attorneys take part in a strike called the country’s bar associations regarding an insurance bill that is before parliament, in contrast to the civil action, which received permission from the bar association to continue to represent the case. The suspension will last almost four months, until 30 May 2016. Five years later, at the end of the trial, all the convicted defendants will unsuccessfully seek the mitigation of their sentence on the grounds of the “unreasonable duration of the trial”.
3 JUNE 2016
Witness to Fyssas’ murder continue to present testimony and the court accepts the family’s request for the presence of the 18 defendants charged. Fyssas’ friend, Nikos Mantas, recognises the defendants Anastasios Michalaros and Ioannis Aggos, while the testimony of Michalis Xypolitos is also important. These are the eyewitnesses to the murder who were attacked outside the court on the first day of the trial.
“My brother wrote songs, he did not kill”, Irini Fyssa, Pavlos’ sister, testifies, while the testimony of Chrysoula Roupakia, wife of the murderer, went on the record: “My brother told me that he took the knife and he caused him [Fyssas] two scratches.”
9 SEPTEMBER 2016
The examination of the second case begins: the attempted murder of the Egyptian fisherman, Abuzid Ebarak. The victim of the attack, who suffered massive fractures to the head and a puncture to the lung, testifies “If they knew I was alive, they would not have let me go.”However, the prosecutor, in her recommendation, will request that the perpetrators be convicted of misdemeanours on the grounds that “if they wanted to kill him, they would have done it”. Ahmed Abu Hamed’s testimony stands out. He was at home at the time of the attack and he recognised the five defendants in the case during the hearing. The testimony of the police officer, who arrested the perpetrators, confirms that “they were wearing Golden Dawn T-shirts”, thus exposing the subterfuge of the defendants, who had changed their clothes in Keratsini station, is equally important. The mother of one of the perpetrators, who appears in court as a defence witness for her son, also confirms the above since when she was asked by the presiding judge «what did you do when you were informed that your son was at the police station?”She replies: “I brought him the clothes he asked for.” Thus, the court acquires its own knowledge on the good relations between police officers and Michaloliakos’ organisation.
31 OCTOBER 2016
The case of the attempted murder of All-Workers Militant Front (PAME) trade unionists and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) members begins with the testimony of the president of the Attica Metal Union, Sotiris Poulikogiannis, who was the victim of a near-fatal blow to the head, five days before Fyssas’ murder. The testimonies of eight trade unionists, who confirm that “Golden Dawn members wanted blood, they wanted to send a message that they are in control of the Perama shipyards”, follow. Besides, the attack was announced by Golden Dawn leaders (Lagos, Panagiotaros and Michos) during their visit to the shipyards on 8 August 2013, but also as early as 9 May 2013 by Panagiotaros.
Three police officers also testify in court, including the Piraeus police chief, who enters limping and explains to the court that he was injured in an incident on the previous day, when Golden Dawn members, led by Lagos, stormed a primary school in Neo Ikonio, Perama.
The head of the local Perama Golden Dawn branch Tasos Pantazis is among the perpetrators, whose leading role in the attack was admitted by Lagos in text messages he exchanges with Sotiris Develekos. “Is there any bone left for us?” Develekos asks, and the local Golden Dawn branch chief answers: “Tasos will be upset.”Develekos continues: “Oh Tasos, you are the best!”Pantazis was also the leader of the attack on the Egyptian fishermen, while, immediately after the Fyssas murder, he contacted Lagos. And yet, the prosecutor describes the attacks as isolated incidents.
7 FEBRUARY 2017
For the next eight months, 131 prosecution witnesses testify, highlighting and proving the extent of Golden Dawn’s long-term criminal activity, the modus operandi of the attacks and the Nazi ideology of the organisation.
The testimonies of the victims of dozens of attacks stand out (the places where the attacks took place included the Synergeio social space in Ilioupoli; Paleo Faliro; Agios Panteleimon, the Court of Appeal and Rafina (all in Attica); Irakleio and Vainia, near Ierapetra (Crete); Patras; Paros; Messolonghi; Ioannina, Meligalas. Equally important are the testimonies of constitutional law professor Nikos Alivizatos, who explained how the criminal activities of Golden Dawn fall under the provisions of article 187 (1) on criminal organisations in the Criminal Code and of former Athens mayor George Kaminis, on the violence exercised by Golden Dawn even inside the town hall.
Ilias Stavrou, a former Golden Dawn member, is on the spotlight for choosing to give evidence directly in court in person, and not as a protected witness. He describes specific incidents of military training, Nazi ideology and the “leader principle”. Among others, he tells the court that “Nothing could happen in Golden Dawn without Michaloliakos’ order” and “when we saluted the Nazi way, we had in mind Adolf Hitler and not Aristotle”. Unable to challenge his testimony, the defence attempts to discredit his personality by presenting him as mentally disturbed.
The courtroom of full to capacity when Dimitris Psarras, a journalist with the Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper, testifies. He uses the organisation’s own texts to show that in the case of Golden Dawn, the political party and criminal organisation are identical, with the former acting as the “cloak” of the latter. The witness presents to the court the original constitution of the organisation, in what is one of the most important incriminating elements for Michaloliakos. Journalist Giannis Baskakis, from the same newspaper, also offers important information on the criminal activity of the organisation in his three-day testimony.
12 OCTOBER 2017
The prosecutor agrees with the request from Golden Dawn’s lawyers to reveal the details of the protected witnesses so that they appear in person at the hearing. The judges reject the request and five former Golden Dawn members testify under protection from a special room located in the Athens General Police Directorate, with their voice distorted to prevent their identification.
The defence tries to discredit the protected witnesses as mentally ill, alcoholics, etc. It even reveals their identities in the courtroom. The civil action declines to examine the witnesses as a matter of principle since it considers that anonymity and remote testimony do not offer basic procedural guarantees.
13 DECEMBER 2017
The testimonies of the witnesses called by the civil action begin with Dimitris Kousouris, a victim of the horrific attack of a Golden Dawn assault squad outside the Evelpidon courts complex, Athens, in 1998. Kousouris describes his attempted murder, for which the then deputy leader of the organisation, Periandros (Antonis Androutsopoulos), was convicted. Nevertheless, the prosecutor at the time had argued in favour of the perpetrator, saying that “since Kousouris is alive, they did not want to kill him”, as was the case with prosecutor Adamantia Oikonomou, in the case of the Egyptian fisherman.
Among the testimonies of 15 other civil action witnesses that follow are those of Dimitris Christopoulos (political science professor at Panteion University), Giorgos Margaritis (contemporary history professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Liana Kanelli (Communist Party of Greece MP), Maria Kanellopoulou (former Syriza MP) and Petros Konstantinou (Athens municipal councillor with the Anticapitalist Left Front (Antarsya), and national coordinator of the Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (Keerfa).
6 FEBRUARY 2018
Two witnesses testify, as summoned by the court: the former Golden Dawn chief of the southern suburbs in Athens, Georgios Papageorgiou, and an eyewitness to the Fyssas murder, Achilleas Nikolaou. The first confirms the criminal nature of the organisation and its strict hierarchy by providing evidence, while the second testifies that Fyssas was killed in cold blood and in public view. He describes the organised attack of many people on Fyssas until Roupakias, his murderer, arrives to deliver the fatal blow.
8 FEBRUARY 2018
The process continues with the submitted indictment documents: the most embarrassing moment for the defence attorneys. Until then, they have tried to refute anything that proved the guilt of their clients, alleging that there had been photoshopping or editing, but how could they, now, refute the text messages, the recorded conversations, the videos that announce attacks, the articles that refer to Nazism, the military training photos, the speeches with pictures of Hitler in the background and much evidence that was confiscated from the homes of the defendants?
Among other evidence, a video with the Nikaia party chief, Giorgos Patelis, is projected in the courtroom, where he says: “everything that moves shall be slaughtered”. Another video shows Michaloliakos declaring: “I shall not pretend I am a democrat, I never declared myself as a sensitive democrat. And when I was being sworn in as an MP, in the presence of the TV cameras, I did not repeat (the parts) of the oaths and the laws, because I do not believe in the constitution … I have been charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation that aimed at overthrowing democracy; I consider this an honorary title and since they charged me once with it, eventually I have to do it.”
9 JULY 2018
The court rejects an objection submitted by Michaloliakos questioning the authenticity of the secret constitution of Golden Dawn presented by Dimitris Psarras. The prosecutor also calls on the objection to be rejected, emphasising that there is no evidence that the document was forged. She debunks Michaloliakos’ claim that “this document reflects strong national socialist positions that have nothing to do with the actual ideology of Golden Dawn”, saying that in most of the videos presented in court “references are made to the national socialist positions of the organisation” and therefore “this claim is unfounded”. However, in her speech, the prosecutor contradicts herself: she claims that the only genuine statute is the one that was submitted to the Supreme Court after the 2012 elections and adopts the claims of Golden Dawn members that the Nazi salutes they perform are “ancient Greek”.
18 JULY 2018
Dozens of convictions for Golden Dawn attacks are included in the documents submitted by the civil action. The study by the Forensic Architecture research team on the Fyssas murder is shown in court, as well as more than 50 videos in support of the indictment, including a Nazi concert held in Athens in 2005 published by Efimerida ton Syntakton (“The true homeland of Golden Dawn”, 13 February 2017).
12 SEPTEMBER 2018
The reading of the defence documents begins, which will last until 16 March 2019. For five months, the defence delays the trial with thousands of parliamentary questions from former MPs. Lagos alone presents 2,000 questions about smog in Patras, Samian wine, the zero demand for white onion, the wild artichoke of Mikromani, etc. The presiding judge, Maria Lepenioti, informs Lagos’ attorney to “Tell your client not to circulate the rumour that the trial is being delayed”.
6 MARCH 2019
Golden Dawn calls 265 defence witnesses but only 69 come to testify in court, grudgingly it would appear. The presiding judge, Maria Lepenioti, twice informs the clerk to note in the record that “the court is adjourning the session because the defence lawyers did not bring witnesses even though they were duly notified”. Those who testify are relatives, friends or employees of Golden Dawn. Relatives will be also called by the defence after the conviction, in an attempt to convince the judges that if the convicted Golden Dawn members are jailed, it will have disastrous consequences for their elderly parents, their wives and their children.
20 JUNE 2019
The statements of the accused begin with the defendants in Fyssas’ murder. Giorgos Roupakias says “it was just a homicide that they turned to a whole political issue”. Giorgos Patelis, the local party chief in Nikaia, says that “Golden Dawn did not revoke my membership. I stopped going to the party’s offices when I was put in pre-trial detention,” which contradicts the statements of the party’s leadership that claimed that those involved in the murder were expelled from Golden Dawn. Ilias Kasidiaris, blames the other Golden Dawn MPs, saying that “members, supporters, even MPs” may be guilty of the crimes and he exercises an unprecedented verbal attack on the deputy prosecutor. Nikos Michos testifies that Michaloliakos knew from the very first moment about Fyssas’ murder and the attack on the Egyptian fishermen. Ioannis Lagos completely covers the assault squads, he accuses the political council (that is, the leader himself) of the decision not to expel those involved in Fyssas’ murder and he verbally harasses the presiding judge. The leader, Michaloliakos, distances himself from Lagos and the criminal activities of the Nikaia assault squad, falsely claiming that he was only informed of Fyssas’ murder the next morning.
19 DECEMBER 2019
The prosecutor, Adamantia Oikonomou, proposes the acquittal of all the defendants charged with directing and joining a criminal organisation. Regarding the murder of Fyssas, she proposes that only Roupakias be found guilty, while she tries to downplay the brutal attacks on the PAME trade unionists and the Egyptian fishermen, proposing that the charges be reduced. The deputy prosecutor does not speak, but he respond to those who accuse him of aligning himself with Oikonomou’s recommendation that “there is no legal procedure for the deputy prosecutor to plead”, clearly distinguishing his position.
8 JANUARY 2020
The civil action’s oral submissions begin with the plea of Chryssa Papadopoulou, representing the Fyssas family, who completely debunks the prosecutor’s recommendation and proves the importance of the court decision to allow civil action’s involvement also on the charges relating to the criminal organisation. The remarks of the civil action attorney of the Egyptian fishermen, Thanasis Kampagiannis, to presiding judge Maria Lepenioti is characteristic: “Your honour, who do you stand with: the bees or the wolves?”
The civil action’s robust argumentation, which is based on solid evidence, forces the defence attorneys to engage with irrelevant matters in their oral submissions, since many of them did not even bother to challenge the indictment.
7 OCTOBER 2020
The presiding judge, Maria Lepenioti, delivers the historic verdict: Golden Dawn is a criminal organisation. Within seconds, the news is relayed to the many thousands of protesters gathered outside the courthouse. Alexandras Avenue, outside the court building, erupts as the shocked defence attorneys begin submitting mitigating factors.
A total of 57 defendants are convicted: 50 for felonies and 7 for misdemeanours. Former MPs Nikos Michaloliakos, Ilias Kasidiaris, Giannis Lagos, Christos Pappas, Giorgos Germenis, Ilias Panagiotaros and Artemis Mattheopoulos, namely the Golden Dawn political council, are found guilty of directing a criminal organisation. The other former MPs are convicted of joining a criminal organisation: Eleni Zaroulia, Panagiotis Iliopoulos, Antonis Gregos, Polyvios Zisimopoulos, Konstantinos Barbarousis, Nikos Kouzilos, Dimitris Koukoutsis, Nikos Michos, Stathis Boukouras, Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos and Michail Arvanitis.
For the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, Giorgos Roupakias is handed a life sentence and the other defendants are convicted as his accomplices, except for two defendants, who are acquitted on the grounds of reasonable doubt. All the perpetrators of the attacks on the Egyptian fishermen and PAME trade unionists are convicted. A total of 43 defendants are convicted as members of the criminal organisation, including Dionysis Liakopoulos and Christos Stergiopoulos (murder of Shehzad Luqman), Thomas Barekas (attack on the Synergeio social space in Ilioupoli, Athens), Vassilis Siatounis and Athanasios Stratos (attack on the Antipnoia social space in Petralona, Athens), Aristodimos Daskalakis (beating of foreign workers in Ierapetra, Crete) and police officer Venetia Popori, in whose home an entire arsenal was found.
8 OCTOBER 2020
The prosecutor proposes that no mitigating factors be recognised for the Golden Dawn leadership. “It would be contradictory for me to propose a mitigation of the sentence once your court has found the defendants guilty of manslaughter and crimes against democracy,” Adamantia Oikonomou tells the court, arousing the resentment of the defence.
9 OCTOBER 2020
The prosecutor apologises to the defence, saying: “I was severely attacked by defence attorneys for rejecting the mitigating factors, even though I had proposed an acquittal. They suggested that I had faltered and changed my stance. So in order to dispel any doubt, I want to say that I support my recommendation, in which I proceeded, according to my conscience and with the law as my guide, and I want to stress that the prosecutor must take the court’s decision into account, to adopt it and respect it without the interference of personal beliefs.”
12 OCTOBER 2020
The court does not recognise mitigating factors for the Golden Dawn leadership. Mitigating factors are only recognised for the former MPs Nikos Michos (genuine remorse), Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos and Efstathios Boukouras (good behaviour after the act) and Michael Arvanitis (law-abiding character prior to the act).
The mitigating factor of good behaviour after the criminal act was also recognised for Giorgos Dimou and Giorgos Skalkos, who were convicted of complicity in the murder of Fyssas and joining a criminal organisation, while the mitigating circumstance on the grounds of age was recognised for defendants who were under 25 when the incidents took place, namely Anastasios Anadiotis, Georgios Tsakanikas, Aristotelis Chrysafitis, Dimitris Agriogiannis, Markos Evgenikos, Thomas Marias, Konstantinos Papadopoulos and Christos Chatzidakis.
Lagos appears in court with a new attorney, Konstantinos Plevris, and requests the recusal of the judges on the bench but not of the prosecutors. His attorney argues that the judges are biased, pressured by politicians and that the presumption of innocence has been violated.
The request is examined by another bench of judges, which rejects it as unfounded, vague and inadmissible. After a delay of seven hours, the original bench, presided by Maria Lepenioti, returns to the court.
13 OCTOBER 2020
The prosecutor proposes a sentence of 13 years’ imprisonment for the directors of the criminal organisation, causing some dissatisfaction among the defence. Takis Michalolias’ reacts: “The prosecutor was ‘generous’ with Nikos Michaloliakos and his family because it was inconsistent with common sense and judicial practice to believe that a man is innocent and yet to propose the highest sentence. Either the prosecutor no longer insists on her opinion about the innocence of Golden Dawn members or the outcry pricked her conscience.”
14 OCTOBER 2020
The conviction of the criminal organisation is accompanied by long sentences for the leader, Michaloliakos, and his close leadership circle, who are sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment, very close to the maximum limit of 15 years foreseen for these crimes. Giorgos Roupakias is sentenced to life imprisonment plus 14 years and the two chiefs of the organisation in Nikaia and Perama, Giorgos Patelis and Tasos Pantazis, as well as the security officer of the Nikaia branch, Giannis Kazantzoglou, are sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. Patelis and Kazantzoglou were recruited at the Golden Dawn headquarters on Mesogeion Avenue and, as was proven during the hearing, they were not expelled from Golden Dawn, even after Fyssas’ murder, although they were directly involved in it.
The accomplices to the murder are sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment with no mitigating circumstances, and those accomplices to the murder for whom mitigating factors were recognised, are sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, the same sentences are handed to the perpetrators of the attempted murder of the Egyptian fishermen. Former MPs Panagiotis Iliopoulos and Nikos Kouzilos, as well as Piraeus Golden Dawn official Nikos Apostolou, are given seven years’ imprisonment.
The court sentences six former MPs to six years’ imprisonment(Eleni Zaroulia, Polyvios Zisimopoulos, Antonis Gregos, Dimitris Koukoutsis and Konstantinos Barbarousis, Nikos Michos), while the same sentence is imposed on those convicted of joining a criminal organisation (Dionysios Liakopoulos and Christos Stergiopoulos (guilty of the murder of Pakistani worker Shehzad Luqman), Athanasios Stratos and Vassilis Siatounis (convicted of attacking the Antipnoia social space), Nikos Papavassiliou (guilty of the arson attack on the Cointreau bar, Plateia Amerikis, Athens, which was owned by an migrant), police officer Venetia Popori and the Nikaia branch secretary, Giorgos Tsakanikas.
Former MPs Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, Stathis Boukouras and Michalis Arvanitis were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment due to mitigating circumstances, while Aristodimos Daskalakis, who was convicted of assaulting immigrants in Vainia, Ierapetra, is also sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. For their role in the attack on the PAME trade unionists, Antonis Chatzidakis receives six years’ imprisonment while Kyriakos Antonakopoulos and Ioannis Kastrinos were handed a sentence of three years and six months.
15 OCTOBER 2020
The Golden Dawn defendants found guilty, with the exception for Giorgos Roupakias, request a suspension of the execution of their sentences, presenting arguments based on the difficulty in making a living and testimonies from friends and relatives. Konstantinos Barabarousis accompanies his elderly father to court, who claims that if his son is imprisoned, then he and his wife will have a serious problem since their son takes care of them and their farm animals.
16 OCTOBER 2020
Ilias Kasidiaris, Giorgos Germenis, Artemis Mattheopoulos and Panagiotis Iliopoulos appear before the court in person and request that they not be imprisoned, while Antonis Gregos requests to be placed under house arrest with a bracelet so that he does not serve his sentence in prison. Nikos Michaloliakos, through his attorney, claims that he will suffer “irreparable damage” if his sentence is not suspended. From Brussels, where he is an MEP, Lagos, through his attorneys, accuses the judges and declares that he shall not request a suspension of his sentence.
19 OCTOBER 2020
Prosecutor Adamantia Oikonomou proposes that only George Roupakias be imprisoned and that all other sentences be suspended, even for Lagos, who did not request so. Her reasoning is mainly based on two arguments: a) the defendants complied with the restrictions imposed on them since being charged, and b) they possess a clean criminal record, “except for Nikos Michaloliakos, who was convicted in 1979 at the age of 22, and Alexopoulos, Gregos, Boukouras, Michos, who have been convicted of acts with minor sanctions”.
In his statements to the media, while the courts still in session, civil action attorney Thanasis Kampagiannis characterises Oikonomou’s recommendation as “shameful” for the state’s prosecutor office and explains that Lagos was imprisoned in 2015 for violating his restrictions.
The session continues with the pleas of the defence attorneys, who align themselves with the prosecutor’s recommendation. Artemis Mattheopoulos’s attorney submits documents with the statements of Thanasis Kampagiannis and condemns the civil action for its attitude. The defence attorneys create tension and the presiding judge adjourns the hearing until the following day.
20 OCTOBER 2020
The judges point out to the prosecutor the omissions in her recommendation. The presiding judge lists the names of the guilty defendants who do not possess a clean criminal record and asks the prosecutor to clarify whether she proposes to suspend the sentence for all of them (the criminal records of those whom the prosecutor failed to mention in her recommendation). The prosecutor insists that only Roupakias be jailed. Based on documents provided by Mattheopoulos’s attorney, the court requests the prosecutor to seek any ruling regarding the violation of restrictions by Lagos and to present it to the court.
The second last hearing of the trial lasts only half an hour, during which the judges show how evidentiary material had been distorted by the prosecutor.
The full conversation between the presiding judge and the prosecutor regarding the omissions in the latter’s recommendation on the suspensory nature of the sentences is as follows:
Presiding judge: In her recommendation, the prosecutor stated that the criminal records of the accused MPs are clean, except for Nikos Michaloliakos, who was convicted in 1979, at the age of 22, and Alexopoulos, Gregos, Boukouras, Michos, who were convicted of acts with minor sanctions. The prosecutor failed to also mention the defendants, who – as it appears from the criminal records that the court examined in the context of considering mitigating circumstances – have been sentenced even to imprisonment: Liakopoulos, Stergiopoulos, Siatounis, Stratos, who have served prison sentences; Agriogiannis, imprisonment for robbery and embezzlement; Tsorvas, for grievous bodily harm; Papavassiliou, for attempted arson; Kastrinos, Apostolou, Pantazis, for grievous bodily harm; and some that could be characterised as acts with minor sanction, those of Chrysafitis, Kalaritis, Evgenikos, Tsakanikas. The court, therefore, considers that the prosecutor’s recommendation should be supplemented accordingly. Second, the prosecutor stated that some of the convicts did not violate the restrictions imposed on them. Then Mr Mattheopoulos’s attorney took the floor and submitted some documents stating that Ioannis Lagos had violated the restrictions. Therefore, under the supervision of the prosecutor, any decree on whether Ioannis Lagos had violated the restrictions should be sought.
Prosecutor: I did not say that there were any acts with minor sanction.
Presiding judge: I did not raise an issue with that. I said that you did not mention anything even regarding prison sentences.
Prosecutor: I only referred to those who possess a clean criminal record.
Presiding judge: What is the recommendation for the rest of them?
Prosecutor: I only mentioned those who possessed a clean criminal record. It is self-evident that those I did not mention do not have a clean criminal record. All meet the conditions [to have their sentences suspended pending appeal].
Presiding judge: And what is the recommendation?
Prosecutor: That the sentence be suspended for them as well. They all respect the restrictions.
Presiding judge: Is this the recommendation? For all of the defendants? Despite the life sentences and the risk of reoffending?
Presiding judge: Please make a note of that, clerk. Now, on the issue of Lagos. The court will adjourn until tomorrow so that, under the supervision of the prosecutor, the decree on the restrictions of defendant Lagos can be sought.
21 OCTOBER 2020
The prosecutor submits decree 1184 of 21 July 2015, which orders the pre-trial detention of Ioannis Lagos for violating restrictions. The document proves that the prosecutor’s recommendation, which stated that “the defendants have not violated restrictive order”, had omissions.
Former MP Ilias Kasidiaris appears before the court to request that it investigate a phone call that was allegedly made two days before the murder of Pavlos Fyssas by the general secretary for the coordination of government work during the premiership of Antonis Samaras, to a Golden Dawn member who contacted Roupakias on the day of the murder.
Without giving any explanation of his own, the former MP just asks that Dimitris Vartzopoulos, the then general secretary, be summoned and examined by him.
Lagos also submits requests through his lawyers: to read the 2019 decrees, lifting the restrictions that were imposed on him in the past, as well as his statements that if he is convicted and not granted a suspension of his sentence, he will come to Greece to serve it in prison.
Kasidiaris’ request is rejected, while for Lagos only the reading of the 2019 decree is accepted, with the presiding judge pointing out that “a later decree does not replace a previous one”.
22 OCTOBER 2020
The judges order the imprisonment of the Golden Dawn criminal organisation.
Arrest warrants are issued for the leader of the organisation, Nikos Michaloliakos, and for 12 former MPs who were part of the Golden Dawn parliamentary group in 2012: Ilias Kasidiaris, Ioannis Lagos, Ilias Panagiotaros, Giorgos Germenis, Christos Pappas, Artemis Mattheopoulos, Panagiotis Iliopoulos, Nikos Kouzilos, Polyvios Zisimopoulos, Antonis Gregos, Konstantinos Barbarousis and Nikos Michos.
Former MPs Eleni Zaroulia, Stathis Boukouras, Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, Dimitris Koukoutsis and Michail Arvanitis are released on restrictions until the case is heard in the second instance.
The murderer Giorgos Roupakias is taken to jail to serve life imprisonment and his 15 accomplices are sentenced to many years in prison. Among them are the chief, Giorgos Patelis, security chief, Giannis Kazantzoglou, and secretary, Giorgos Tsakanikas, of the local Golden Dawn branch in Nikaia. The Perama branch chief Tasos Pantazis is imprisoned while Piraeus branch officers Thomas Barekas and Nikos Apostolou are also sentenced.
The two perpetrators of the murder of Shehzad Luqman (Dionysis Liakopoulos and Christos Stergiopoulos), Vassilis Siatounis and Athanasios Stratos, who attacked the Antipnoia social space, Nikos Papavassiliou, who was convicted of arson of a bar belonging to a migrant and police officer Venetia Popori are also taken to prison.