Greece: Authorities must deliver justice to Golden Dawn victims and deter racist violence

Victims of hate crimes and discriminatory attacks in Greece must have real and effective access to justice and reparations, said Amnesty International ahead of Wednesday’s verdict in the case against leaders and members of the Golden Dawn.

More than five years after the Golden Dawn trial began against those accused of directing and participating in a criminal organization, murdering the anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas and violent attacks against refugees, migrants, trade unionists and human rights defenders, a verdict is expected to be handed down by an Athens court on 7 October.

This trial of has been a serious test for the Greek criminal justice system and its ability to address the threat posed by a group that has used and advocated violence and discrimination
Nils Muižnieks, Europe Director at Amnesty International

"The trial of Golden Dawn has been a serious test for the Greek criminal justice system and its ability to address the threat posed by a group that has used and advocated violence and discrimination,” said Nils Muižnieks, Europe Director at Amnesty International.

“The accusations against the leaders and members of Golden Dawn, including the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, expose a fissure that exists not just within Greece but across Europe and beyond. The impact of this verdict, in what is an emblematic trial of an extreme far-right party with an aggressive anti-migrant and anti-human rights stance, will be felt far beyond Greece’s borders.”

18 former Golden Dawn MPs and two Golden Dawn members are accused of directing a criminal organization whose members committed a series of violent crimes including attacks against refugees and the murder of Pavlos Fyssas.

The accusations against the leaders and members of Golden Dawn, including the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, expose a fissure that exists not just within Greece but across Europe and beyond
Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International

45 Golden Dawn members are accused of participating in a criminal organization and other criminal offences. An additional three are accused of minor offences related to false testimony and gun possession.

“The verdict is long awaited by the victims, survivors and their families,” said Nils Muižnieks.

“Sending a clear and unequivocal message in this landmark case that hate crimes will no longer be tolerated can also have an important effect in deterring racist violence in the future." 

For more information or to arrange an interview contact: stefan.simanowitz@amnesty.org / +447936766445 or +44 2030365599

Amnesty International will be at the court on Wednesday and available for comment

Background

Seven years after the murder of anti-fascist singer Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini, and five and a half years after the beginning of the Golden Dawn trial, a three-member Appeals Court is expected to announce its verdict on 7 October.

The judges will also decide on three individual crimes:  the murder of Pavlos Fyssas by a hit-squad of Golden Dawn in the neighbourhood of Keratsini on 18 September 2013; the attempted murder of Egyptian fisherman Abouzid Embarak on 12 June 2012; and the attempted murder of members of the Greek Communist party and its trade union PAME on 12 September 2013.  

The verdict is awaited by the victims, survivors and their families who have consistently attended the long trial and often traumatizing hearings.