Thanasis Kampagiannis, left. In the ongoing Golden Dawn trials, he represents Egyptian fishermen who were attacked by the party’s activists. He is sharply critical of the EU which indirectly finances the party, in spite of the Greek government freezing their funding. (Image: Private).
(Report: Anna-Sofia Quensel, Daniel Vergara, Expo.se, 12/5/2016)
The Greek parliament has frozen all funding to Golden Dawn, which is suspected of murder and assaults on migrants. At the same time the European Parliament is granting hundreds of thousands of euros to party organizations which include Golden Dawn representatives.
“The EU is funding a nazi terror group which is currently on trial for a number of serious crimes,” says Thanasis Kampagiannis, a lawyer involved in the legal processes against Golden Dawn.
Expo’s revelation that the EU has granted millions of euros in subsidies to far right groups continues to cause strong reactions. One of the parties which has indirectly benefited from the financial support is the Greek organization Golden Dawn. This has infuriated the lawyer Thanasis Kampagiannis. He is one of the many lawyers involved in the extensive ongoing legal process against the Greek nazi party.
“Golden Dawn is a nazi organization which is suspected of serious criminality such as murder, the attempted murder of trade unionists, immigrants and political opponents. The crimes are carried out in an organized way by Golden Dawn activists, and are justified with nazi rhetoric about Greek purity, a struggle against immigrants and domestic ‘viruses’ such as leftists and antifascists,” Thanasis Kampagiannis says.
The prosecution was initiated following the murder of hip-hop artist and antifascist Pavlos Fyssas on 17 September, 2013. Golden Dawn has been linked to assassination attempts, a number of cases of assault as well as all-out mobs storming houses and apartment blocks where migrants live.
Sixty-nine persons linked to Golden Dawn have been charged. Twenty of these are accused of running the party as a criminal organization. In connection with the trials, the Greek parliament decided to freeze all public financial support to Golden Dawn, except for the wages of their MPs. An appeal was lodged against the decision, but this appeal was rejected by the supreme court.
Even as the Greek parliament has frozen their funding, prominent members of Golden Dawn have found an alternative source of financing – the European Union. The European-level party Alliance of European National Movements includes in its ranks Golden Dawn’s Nikolaos Chrysomallis. In Greece, he is a councillor in the regional assembly of the Central Macedonia region. The AEMN has been granted hundreds of thousands of euros since 2012.
The European-level party Alliance for Peace and Freedom has also been granted funding for the year 2016. Artemis Matthaiopoulos is Deputy Chairman of the organization. Matthaiopoulos is described by Kampagiannis as a leading figure in Golden Dawn.
Expo’s revelations about the EU’s funding of AENM and APF came as a shock to the prosecutors and for the lawyers who represent Golden Dawn’s victims.
“That the European Parliament and the EU are financing Golden Dawn is a mockery, especially against all the European tax payers who are now forced to contribute to an organization which the Greek state itself has decided to freeze all funding to,” Thanasis Kampagiannis says.
The APF Deputy Chairman Matthaiopoulos is one of those charged with leading a “criminal organization”. He was previously a Greek parliamentarian and formerly a singer in the White Power band Pogrom, which performed grossly antisemitic songs such as “Fuck Anne Frank” and “Juden Raus”, something which has been pointed out by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.
“Matthaiopoulos is a notorious nazi and singer in a band with loathsome lyrics. The money from the EU to Golden Dawn might be used to finance such activities which is one of the reasons the Greek government has frozen all payments to the party,” Thanasis Kampagiannis says.
Kampagiannis represents four Egyptian fishermen who were attacked by a Golden Dawn mob. Five days before the Greek elections of 2012, in which Golden Dawn won 18 seats in the national parliament, the Egyptian fishermen were brutally assaulted. During the night, a Golden Dawn group stormed their building in Perama.
First, the nazis attacked one man sleeping on the terrace. They beat him with clubs and kicked him. He was seriously injured in the head and his jaw was shattered. It was not until six months after surgery that he could eat solid foods again. After the assault, the attackers attempted to enter the house and reach three others. The attackers failed to gain entry but continued to smash windows and attack parked cars.
Shortly after the attack, six members of the party were arrested, two of whom were wearing Golden Dawn shirts. But initially, the case was not taken seriously and all the suspects were immediately released. It was only after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas in 2013 that the Perama assault case was taken up again. Now the suspected perpetrators are charged with attempted murder.