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Golden Dawn appeals trial begins today

Featured Golden Dawn appeals trial begins today

Six hundred and sixteen days after the historic first instance court decision, which had unanimously ruled that Golden Dawn is a criminal organization, the defendants will be re-tried at the appeals, after appeals by convicted former MPs and other defendants against the first decision.

On Wednesday, at 9.00 in the morning the judges of the Athens Five-Member Court of Appeals will appear in the ceremonial hall of the Athens Court of Appeals, the largest courtroom in Greece following a relevant request of prosecutors so the needs of all interested parties are met.

The trial of the case begins under completely different circumstances, since Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi) is no longer in parliament and with seven former MPs of the party convicted (Nikos Michaloliakos, Ioannis Lagos, Elias Kasidiaris, Christos Pappas, Elias Panagiotaros and Artemis Mattheopoulos) imprisoned after being convicted in the first trial for belonging to the "directorate" of the criminal organization.

Under these circumstances, victims of Golden Dawn and their families, as well as the lawyers of the civil lawsuit, will stage a second judicial battle that may also last a long time.

The family of 34-year-old musician Pavlos Fyssas, who was murdered by Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias, had led then Justice Minister Nikos Dendias to combine all cases involving the party in one so that they could be tried as a criminal organization. Roupakias is currently serving a life sentence,

The reasoning of the first instance conviction

According to the decision of October 7, 2020, in addition to the leadership of Golden Dawn, whose members were found guilty of directing a criminal organization, 43 other defendants were convicted, including the 11 former MPs of the party, for joining a criminal organization and on a case by case basis. The rest were accused of committing very serious crimes (murder of Pavlos Fyssas and attempted murder of Egyptian fisherman Abuzid Ebarak).

Dozens of other crimes such as the murder of Pakistani worker Sahzat Lukman, the attempted murder of student Dimitris Kousouris, the attempted murders of members of PAME union, and members of the social center Antipnoia, etc, were judged to have been perpetrated by the criminal organization under directions of its leadership.

The judges, as described in detail in the 12,746 pages of their decision, opined that Golden Dawn was a criminal organization, rejecting the allegations and the defense arguments of all the accused and especially the members of the former parliamentary group of the party. It is these decisions the defendants are seeking to overturn.

Some of the wrongdoings the accused have been charged with have now become statute-barred due to time elapsed. The wager now is that no more of these misdeeds are written off because of statute of limitations expirations until the second instance decision is issued. However, already there are signs that the defendants will try to delay the process through juridical objections and other legal means, which the members of the court will have to rule on.