Golden Dawn leader’s first ever criminal conviction

13 02 18

From Panayote Dimitras for Greek Helsinki Monitor in Athens

The Greek nazi party Golden Dawn’s major trial for functioning as a criminal organization and for three of its crimes, including the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas, which started on 20 April 2015, entered its second phase in early February 2018.

After 224 court sessions, during which 130 witnesses for the prosecution were examined, the court started examining hundreds of documents in the case file.

The examination of defence witnesses, the defendants’ statements, the pleadings of the prosecutors and then of the lawyers for the civil claimants and of the defendants will follow before judges issue their judgment, probably in early 2019. In the meantime, GD leaders and other members are facing trials for other charges.

 “Fuhrer’s first conviction” was the title of a 12 February 2018 article in the daily I Efimerida ton Syntakton, [The Journalists’ Paper] Greece’s only newspaper that covers (and sometimes uncovers) extensively Golden Dawn’s activities.

The paper was covering, in a two-page spread, the trial of Golden Dawn (GD) chief Nikos Michaloliakos, on 9 February 2018 for incitement to violence, at the end of which the Athens Misdemeanours Court found him guilty and handed him an eight-month suspended jail sentence.

On 3 September 2011, GD’s Chief (his official title that leads many to call him “Fuhrer”) spoke to a party audience. In a speech full of hate, he threatened the party’s opponents that “we will break their heads.” Referring to GD allies, he said: “Yes! With fascists, with Nazis, criminals and stabbers, whatever they want. But not with traitors and two-faced people!”

Referring to the Jewish editor of Greece’s largest selling weekly newspaper, he added “If ever there is justice, he and his little Jews will be turned into soap.”

The speech was revealed by I Efimerida ton Syntakton on 11 October 2014 but this did not motivate the prosecutor to press charges. As a result, the NGO Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutor. It is noteworthy that the first instance prosecutor did not accept the complaint and GHM had to file it with the Supreme Court Prosecutor who made sure a criminal investigation was launched.

The GD leader was not present during the trial but was represented by five lawyers, three of whom formally pleaded on his behalf. The sole prosecution witness, investigative journalist Dimitris Psarras who had revealed the speech, confirmed the authenticity of the video and of the date of the speech, which cancelled the defence’s effort to claim the speech had been made a year earlier and thus the crime was time barred.

Ironically, the defence witness, a local GD branch leader, by confirming that the speech was reflecting their party’s political program, implicitly reaffirmed the violent and, hence, criminal, character of GD’s action, thus facilitating his leader’s conviction.

This is the first ever criminal conviction of Nikos Michaloliakos. Should it be confirmed on appeal, expected to be heard before the end of this year, it will be an additional factor in the decision of the felony court that is hearing a major case against GD and its organised criminal activities.



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