The Dawn of Justice: Neo-Nazis on Trial in Greece
The trial of 18 members of Golden Dawn and 51 other defendants is the largest trial involving Nazi ideology since Nuremberg. They are charged with the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas and the attempted assassination of members of the Greek Communist Party in September 2013, as well as the attempted assassination of an Egyptian fisherman just days before Golden Dawn entered the Greek Parliament with 7% of the votes and 18 seats in 2012.
Since the trial began in April 2015, Golden Dawn Watch (GDW), an initiative co-sponsored by multiple Greek human rights organizations and the Open Society Foundation and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, has made sure that every word of testimony, every piece of forensic evidence, is not just live-streamed, but logged and summarized for the Greek public, and posted on Twitter and Facebook.
Five lawyers and accredited colleagues monitor the court proceedings, using open source tools that allow collaborative viewing and editing. One lawyer transcribes the proceedings, while two or more volunteers post on social media from inside the courtroom. At the end of the day, a summary is produced and made public for those who prefer a brief review, rather than following along in real-time.
“It's never easy to make people care and gain their trust,” a member of GDW’s editorial group told Are We Europe, speaking on a condition of anonymity. “Nevertheless there is a big community that supports our cause and vision.” The numbers are there to prove it: between 30,000 and 35,000 people follow GDW’s posts regularly, and information on the trial reached as many as 1 million people through the organization’s efforts.
Among the most closely watched defendants is Nikolaos Michaloliakos, Golden Dawn’s founder and lifelong leader, whose potential conviction would discredit Golden Dawn. “Nobody could ever replace him,” the source within GDW says. “And if [that happened], it would mean the mutation of Golden Dawn into something else, different from what we’ve known so far. Justice, when it doesn’t fail, can indeed protect democracy and society form the enemies within.”
This article appears in Are We Europe #4: This Is Not An Elections Issue