Apr. 27, 2015
Dear Friend of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy,
As the Troika continues its relentless insistence that Syriza abandon the program on which it was elected, the trial against leaders of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn for their criminal behavior is beginning in Athens. We have received an urgent appeal for support from the lawyers conducting the case against Golden Dawn. Their appeal, along with a recent article from The Guardian describing the case, are below. Please contribute what you can by PayPal or credit card. Donate here
In peace and solidarity,
Joanne Landy Thomas Harrison
Co-Directors, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
APPEAL FROM THE LAWYERS
The entire leadership of Golden Dawn currently stands accused of directing a criminal organisation, and this investigation is associated with the murder of Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini, as well as the attempted murders of PAME trade unionists and Egyptian fishermen in Perama. In the coming weeks, the judicial council will decide on how to introduce the case to the court (the accused, criminal acts, etc).
We, the lawyers’ initiative for the “Civil Action of the antifascist movement in the trial of Golden Dawn”, declared our position on the development of this prosecution in October 2013. Meanwhile, members of our initiative have been appointed as the civil action legal team in the case of the Egyptian fishermen, who in June 2012 were victims of Golden Dawn’s violence. Our goal, as evidenced by our publications and initiatives, is to ensure the conviction of Golden Dawn members for all the criminal activity for which they stand accused.
We have no illusions that the judiciary will stop the criminal activity of the neonazis. We are aware that a court is not the most advantageous location for a mass antifascist movement to wage its campaign. However, the battle represented by this trial must be fought and won, even if it is an “away” game. We know that in this process we will come face to face with the entire leadership of this neonazi criminal organization, which still commands multiple sources of financial support, hefty parliamentary allowances, dozens of lawyers, more than 100 parliamentary employees and advisors, etc.
Therefore, and in order to respond effectively to the requirements of this battle, we are appealing for financial support from all antifascists, both from organisations and individuals, and from every democratic citizen who want to see the neonazis of Golden Dawn condemned and who seek justice for the victims of fascist and racist violence.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO DONATE BY PAYPAL OR CREDIT CARD
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Trial of far-right Golden Dawn leaders starts in Greece
Monday 20 April 2015 09.22 EDT Last modified on Monday 20 April 2015 09.23 EDT
Party chief Nikos Michaloliakos among 69 defendants accused of running criminal organisation that attacked immigrants and opponents
Five witnesses have reportedly been attacked by supporters of Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn outside the courthouse in Athens where leaders of the far-right party went on trial on charges of operating a criminal organisation.
According to local officials at least one of the witnesses was hospitalised as the trial of 69 defendants – among them the party leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, and senior Golden Dawn officials – got under way.
While more than 40 defendants were present, however, neither Michaloliakos nor the majority of the party’s MPs were, in what has been interpreted as an effort to undermine the significance of the proceedings – the first time an entire party and its leadership have faced trial in Greece.
Michaloliakos, 57, and at least a dozen MPs could face 10-year prison sentences if found guilty of orchestrating a string of attacks against immigrants, leftists and gay people. Observers are divided over whether a conviction could lead to an outright ban on the party.
The trial, taking place at the Korydallos maximum security prison in Athens, is set to last for at least one year and involve 300 witnesses and 120 lawyers. On Monday it was suspended until 7 May because one of the defendants did not have legal representation.
Streets around the courthouse were closed off as a police helicopter hovered above. Neighbouring schools and municipal offices were shut over concerns that demonstrations by anti-Golden Dawn groups and party supporters could turn violent.
Around 200 Golden Dawn supporters, many in black helmets and led by Michaloliakos’s daughter, Ourania, showed up outside the prison as more than 4,000 people took part in a demonstration organised by anti-fascist groups and trade unions chanting slogans and holding banners demanding the conviction of the neo-Nazi party.
“This is an important trial for Greece and democracy,” said the Athens mayor, Giorgos Kamininis, outside the courthouse, which was filled with victims and the relatives of victims of attacks allegedly carried out by Golden Dawn.
“They are not on trial for their ideas but because of their criminal activities which undermine the institution of democracy and for a host of racist attacks against migrants,” he added.
The party vehemently denies its involvement in the attacks and claims it is being illegally targeted by the political establishment after some opinion polls in 2013 estimated its support at more than 10%.
Its leadership was jailed in 2013 pending trial for allegedly running a criminal organisation after a government crackdown in the wake of the fatal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, a Greek anti-fascist rapper, by a Golden Dawn member in 2013. Fyssas’s mother, Magda Fyssa, was present in court on Monday.
The party began as a far right fringe party in the 1980s but rose to prominence on a wave of public anger over Greece’s financial meltdown that began in 2009 and years of austerity.
Its anti-austerity and virulently anti-immigrant rhetoric struck a chord for many disaffected Greeks, and it entered parliament in 2012. Despite having had its state campaign funding axed, Golden Dawn became the country’s third largest party in national elections in January, with 17 seats in the 300-seat parliament, winning 6.28% of the vote.
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