The father of Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old singer-songwriter who was fatally stabbed in a suburb of Piraeus in September 2013, Panayiotis Fyssas on Tuesday was the first witness to testify at the trial against ultranationalist party Golden Dawn, which stands accused of constituting a criminal organization and being complicit in the young artist's death.
A self-proclaimed member of the party, Giorgos Roupakias, had allegedly confessed to killing Fyssas, with investigators later uncovering evidence suggesting that he may have been acting on orders from higher up in Golden Dawn’s chain of command, prompting a wide-scale probe into the party’s operations.
Panayiotis Fyssas reiterated reports that his son Pavlos was watching a soccer game at a cafeteria in Keratsini with his girlfriend and a friend when he was verbally assaulted by a group of men who followed him out of the café and attacked him on Panaghi Tsaldari Street.
“Around midnight the phone in my house rang,” Panayiotis Fyssas told the court. “It was my brother. ‘Get over here fast, someone stabbed the boy on Tsaldari,’ he told me. I had no idea what I’d encounter. I heard sirens on the way. When I got there I saw his girlfriend holding him but his head was tilted… There was very little blood. I wanted to believe he was still alive.”
Asked whether he had any suspicions about who may have attacked his son, Fyssas stated: “Golden Dawn because his songs annoyed them.”
“His lyrics were aimed at them,” testified Fyssas in regard to the songs penned by Pavlos, who went by the name Killah P and often expressed anti-fascist sentiments in his music.
“From what I understood later it was a professional hit,” said Panayiotis Fyssas, claiming that the hospital coroner had told him the knife was plunged into Pavlos Fyssas’s heart twice and twisted, causing maximum damage.
Relaying what he had been told by witnesses, including Pavlos Fyssas’s girlfriend, Panayiotis Fyssas said that a group of around 18 men waylaid and took turns beating the 34-year-old singer in the street until the arrival by car of Roupakis, who allegedly dealt the fatal blow.
“They attacked him; they had their reasons,” Panayiotis Fyssas told the court. “The attacks were tactical, launched by two or three people at a time… I don’t know how long this lasted. Until the professional killer Roupakias showed up… My boy hung on for four minutes and pointed at his killer. He told a police officer he [Roupakias] had stabbed him.”
Panayiotis Fyssas admitted that he had no evidence suggesting that his son knew Roupakias prior to that night. Asked by the bench why he believed the 47-year-old would attack his son, the father answered: “Because this organization silences the voices that oppose it. His [Pavlos’s] songs were anti-fascist and this annoyed them.”
Pavlos Fyssas’s father also said he believes that Roupakias was not acting alone.
“They worked it all out by phone. He received his orders,” said Panayiotis Fyssas.
Asked by whom, Panayiotis Fyssas said: “The chief of course, who else.”
“Didn’t he just assume responsibility ?” added Panayiotis Fyssas in reference to a recent statement by Golden Dawn head Nikos Michaloliakos in which he said the party “assumes political responsibility” for the incident.
“These guys don’t do anything without receiving orders,” said Panayiotis Fyssas.