September 2017 marks four years since Pavlos Fyssas was murdered. To boost international awareness and attention of this case, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Office in Greece, in cooperation with Radio 24/7, presents this re-enactment of an interview given by Pavlos’s mother, Magda Fyssa, to journalist Kostas Arvanitis. In the interview, Magda Fyssa speaks about her son’s murder, the trial and the lack of media coverage. She speaks from the heart and with a deep-rooted sense of democracy and anti-fascism.
Listen to this interview and share it widely.
Late on 17 September 2013, Greek musician Pavlos Fyssas was murdered on a street in Keratsini, a district of the port-city of Piraeus. Yiorgos Roupakias, a member of Golden Dawn, confessed to the murder. Two-and-a-half years later, Nikos Michaloliakos, the group’s leader, publicly assumed political responsibility for that murder.
Golden Dawn also sits in the Greek Parliament, where it was first elected in 2012. Today, in 2017, its parliamentary group numbers 17 MPs, while it has also elected three MEPs to the European Parliament.
Fyssas’s murder in 2013 marked the peak of the active presence of organised Golden Dawn street squads throughout Greece. The group stepped up its presence on the streets after its election to the Greek Parliament, with squads routinely harassing as well as verbally and physically abusing male and female migrants, members of the LGBTQ community, as well as groups, hangouts, information booths and people associated with the leftwing and the anarchist scene. Golden Dawn’s activity went unpunished as the police was often on their side.
Fyssas’s murder was the second. It had been preceded by the murder of a Pakistani migrant, Shehzad Luqman, on 17 January 2013. But it was Fyssas’s murder that was the spark that lit the fire under the state to react, albeit very belatedly, to the provocations of the neo-Nazis. An indictment of some 30,000 pages was issued, charging 69 members of Golden Dawn with establishing and participating in a criminal organisation and a range of criminal acts, including murder and numerous other offences. (For an overview of Golden Dawn’s organisational structure, see the pamphlet published by Golden Dawn Watch.)
The maximum period for being remanded in custody in Greece is 18 months. The Golden Dawn trial opened on 20 April 2015, which meant that shortly after the proceedings began, the defendants were released. Some of them were (and of those, most still are) MPs and thus returned from the dock to their parliamentary seats.
For the last two-and-a-half years, the trial had proceeded at a regular pace, alternately in a specially equipped hall in the women’s wing of Korydallos prison and in the Athens Court of Appeals. Conditions both in the courtrooms and outside are extremely difficult for the prosecution witnesses as no provision has been made to protect or respect the victims and their families. The police’s stance is often passive.
This trial – one of the most important trials of recent decades – has received only scant coverage in most of the media. Television rarely reports on the proceedings unless there are altercations inside the courtroom or on the street outside. Greek citizens do not have regular information about developments in the trial, whose outcome will determine the quality of democracy in the country.
A translated reenactment of the radio interview of Magda Fyssas by Kostas Arvanitis on Radio 24|7, 88.6 FM, broadcast on June 28, 2017. Translated by Diane Shugart, spoken by Sophie Williams and Ian Robertson, recorded at Radio 24|7, on September 15, 2017. The original Greek interview can be accessed at www.news247.gr.
A project by the Office in Greece of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, in cooperation with Radio 24|7.