NEWS

Golden Dawn defendants skip trial, prompting judge’s ire

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The absence of 11 of the 18 defendants who are scheduled to testify in connection with the September 2013 murder of Pavlos Fyssas in the ongoing trial against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party prompted the ire of the bench's president on Friday. “The defendants have an obligation to be here. The court has ways of bringing them in,” judge Maria Lepeniotou warned.

Friday's proceedings focused on the testimony of Ioannis Aggos, a member of the party's chapter in the Piraeus suburb of Nikaia, who told the court the previous day that he had alerted a party official to Fyssas' presence at a cafe-bar in nearby Keratsini, a call that prosecutors say set off the string of events leading up to the musician's murder.

On Thursday, 13 of the defendants had attended the proceedings, including Giorgos Roupakias, who has confessed to stabbing the 34-year-old musician to death. His presence prompted an emotional response from Fyssas' mother, Magda, who fainted when he was led into the court.

Roupakias was also present on Friday, as was Magda Fyssa, who sat at the back of the courtroom.

In Friday's testimony, Aggos claimed that he had not identified Pavlos Fyssas as being part of a group of people at the Koralli cafe, but had simply called an official at the Nikaia chapter to complain that he and several other fellow Golden Dawn supporters were being heckled by a group at a nearby table and intended to leave the cafe-bar.

He denied any knowledge of whether his call prompted a series of other alerts higher up the chain of command that resulted in a “hit squad” being sent out after Fyssas. “I don't know. I didn't tell anyone to go [to Koralli],” he said.

The 46-year-old also admitted to being an active member of the party, attending several protest rallies and campaign drives.

The trial against Golden Dawn, which is being accused of constituting a criminal organization, began in 2015.