Day 83 (9/12/2016): Egyptian victim of Golden Dawn: ‘They left when they thought I was dead’
Abuzid Embarak, victim of a near fatal attack by members of Golden Dawn four years ago, took the stand in the Three-member Higher Court of Athens today in the trial of the fascist organisation.
He and three friends, also Egyptian immigrant fishermen, were brutally attacked in a raid by Golden Dawn on their home in the Perama district, south of Athens, on 12 June 2012.
Abuzid told the court of the extreme violence he suffered from a gang of 17 or 18 Golden Dawn members as he slept on the terrace of his home. He had come to work in Greece, a country where he “had no differences with anyone – I still don’t”. Greece is somewhere he considered “safe”.
The attack was ferocious and sustained. “If they knew I was still alive, they would never have left,” he told the court. “They believed I was dead – and then they said ‘go’.”
He said that he still “feels dead” after the attack, which left him near death and unable to eat solid food for six months. His testimony continued: after the attack “all foreigners felt afraid”.
Abuzid came to Greece by himself five years ago from Alexandria in Egypt, leaving his family behind. “My father died a year after I arrived,” he said. “I have five children, three brothers, and all of them rely on me.”
In painful detail he recalled how on the night of the crime he was attacked by about 17 people. Only later did he hear about Golden Dawn and that its members carried out the attack.
His friend Ahmed first saw them, all dressed in black T-shirts, when they broke down the front door. They were armed with sticks and iron bars and struck him repeatedly on the head and body. Ahmed instantly knew they were Golden Dawn. Abuzid discovered that in hospital after the attack.
“I passed out,” he continued. “As I lost consciousness I heard someone shout ‘go’. It was one of the few words I knew in Greek. They must have thought I was dead, and they left.”
Abuzid was in hospital for nearly three weeks. For 33 days he ate through a straw. It took half a year for him to recover from the physical assault but he still cannot work fully, cannot stand for long periods and frequently has to be seated – as he was giving his testimony.
After questioning by the presiding judge it moved to the deputy district attorney.
Stelios Kostarellos asked: “Why didn’t they kill you?”
Composing himself, Abuzid answered and repeated yet again that he believed that they thought he was dead and that that is the only reason the attack came to an end, and that the assailants left.
“Why were you attacked?”
Abuzid: “They assaulted me because I am a stranger. They beat foreigners.”
Lawyers acting on behalf of Abuzid and for the Civil Action for the Prosecution of Golden Dawn then examined the witness and elicited further details, ranging from the layout of the house to the names, ages and other details about his children and family.
While Abuzid was giving evidence the president of the court had to warn the fascists’ lawyers for talking loudly, laughing and breaching the protocols of the court.
Towards the end of the session a defence lawyer for Golden Dawn intervened to dispute the extent of the injuries Abuzid had suffered from the assault.
He also raised an incidental matter asking for documentary proof of the sale of a small plot of land in Egypt which the victim of the attempted murder had said been carried out by his family to help him when he was unable to work in Greece.
The trial resumes next week.
Day 84 (12/9/2016): Shocking verbal barrage by Golden Dawn’s lawyers on assault victim
The cross examination by Golden Dawn’s lawyers of Abuzid Embarak today resembled more a sustained verbal assault, in keeping with the near fatal attack he suffered at the hands of a gang of 17 or so of the fascists three years ago.
Typical of the barrage was when one of the fascists’ lawyers – many of whom are on the payroll of the Golden Dawn parliamentary fraction – demanded to know why “if he was so poor” he had “two further children” in the three years after the attack.
“This is the brazenness of the killers!” shouted lawyer for Abuzid, Thanasis Kampagiannis, objecting to the line of “questioning”.
The president of the court intervened, but not before several Golden Dawn lawyers – there are nearly a hundred – one after another tried to destroy the witness on the stand.
Fascists’ lawyer: “So for how long were you assaulted?”
Abuzid: “Two or three minutes.” [As he had said several times already.]
Fascists’ lawyer: “You claim you received 100 blows. How is that possible? It means five blows a second.” [It does not, of course, mean five blows per second, but less than one per second.]
Abuzid remained composed. He calmly answered: “It was not just one of them beating me. Many were.”
Another of the defence lawyers, Giorgos Michalolias, directly accused the victim of perjury, but offered no grounds for the charge. He just said it.
The lawyer for fascist MP Christos Pappas demanded to know: “Have you worked here illegally?”
Another defence lawyer: “Are you sure about the date of the attack?” [The date of the attack is not in question. It is common ground in all the evidence – prosecution and defence.]
On it went. Another lawyer: “Is this about you trying to get money through compensation?”
“I ask for nothing of the authorities, except for the law to be followed in your court,” answered Abuzid.
Another question – with no good grounds and no basis in the bundle of evidence – implying that Abuzid had been paid to bring the case.
“I have never received any money,” he answered. Unlike with the fascists’ lawyers, who are paid at public expense via the parliamentary budget and by Golden Dawn, Abuzid and the three other Egyptian fishermen who were attacked have, of course, no money to contemplate hiring lawyers. The small legal team of the Civil Action for the prosecution of Golden Dawn are working pro bono.
And then, one of the defence lawyers claimed that Abuzid was being paid by George Soros, the wealthy US philanthropist.
Golden Dawn has an obsession with Soros. It betrays the Nazi ideology at its core. Soros is a wealthy Hungarian Jew. In the eyes of Golden Dawn he embodies the “Eternal Jew” of the Hitlerite imagination.
The Nazi nature of Golden Dawn is to be explored later in the trial throughout next year. But today’s wild accusation, made by a defence lawyer, already is revealing that ugly truth.
The president of the court briefly halted proceedings and left the court room. Throughout all of this just one of the 68 defendants in the trial was in the dock.
The line of the fascists’ lawyers could not be supported by the evidence before the court. And it was halted at several points by the presiding judge.
What it did do was try to paint a picture for those beyond the court room. Migrant workers in Greece are liars. They are out to milk the system – hence the groundless accusation of being motivated by compensation. They are in the pay of “Jewish finance” – the Soros reference. And they will “outbreed” us.
That is the image Golden Dawn would like to project. And its lawyers harangued repeatedly the victim of an attempted murder in the witness box today as a means to do so.
But there is another reality in Athens tonight, on this day of Eid al-Adha.
It is a Muslim festival, but one commemorating an Old Testament story common to all of the Abrahamic religions – Muslim, Christian and Jewish.
Abuzid was unshaken and unbowed at the end of today’s ordeal and tonight he and his friends are enjoying an Eid meal and festivities.
The Pakistani community of Athens has a public event as well, in which many friends, Muslim and non-Muslim, will participate.
And tomorrow the trial will continue. Despite all the shouting and bullying by Golden Dawn’s lawyers, it was as clear today as the water with tonight’s lamb and rice that the more the trial proceeds without delays and interruptions, the more the fascists fear what is being revealed and the verdicts which await in many months time.
Eid mubarak from Athens.