This Neo-Nazi Accused of Murdering a Rapper Just Got Released Before His Trial
The saga of a Golden Dawn member's massively delayed trial in Greece continues.
This article originally appeared on VICE Greece
Two and a half years ago, a far-right Greek man allegedly stabbed a rapper in the streets of Athens. Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old who rapped as MC Killah P, died of his injuries that night and 47-year-old Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakis was detained in connection with the murder. After 30 months spent held in remand, Giorgos walked free on Friday—he's served the maximum amount of time in temporary detention, and the case still hasn't gone to trial.
Meanwhile, the sensational trial of Golden Dawn as a criminal organization has run into one delay after another and remains far from its end. Pavlos, whose lyrics carried a strong anti-fascist message, was targeted by the neo-Nazi group while watching a football match at a cafe with some friends. He was singled out by Giorgos, who fatally stabbed him on September 18, 2013. It was a turning point in the political establishment's reaction to Golden Dawn, a group that had previously stuck to attacking immigrants and minority groups—though the ongoing trial still drags through delays.
Giorgos was released on Friday morning, before police drove him from Korydallos prison to his home. Neighbors weren't best pleased, and some shouted various insults at him as the police van drove in. News of his release inspired a big reaction in Greece, predictably. Giorgos was detained on charges of murder with intent, and belonging to a criminal organization. He was an alleged member of Golden Dawn's Nikaia branch—a relationship the organization originally denied when he was first arrested. Two years later, their leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos assumed political responsibility for the murder.
WHY HE WAS RELEASED
According to ordinance number 260 / 2016 of the Appeal Council, the maximum detention limit for Giorgos expired on March 18, 2016, when he was released. He's spent 30 months in custody from September 20, 2013, when he'd confessed to the murder to a judge. His temporary custody exceeded the maximum time of 18 months prescribed by Greek law, and went beyond the initial warrant issued against him for the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, but he was held for longer because additional charges were filed against him.
THE TERMS OF HIS RELEASE
Roupakias has been put under 24-hour house arrest supervised by a police guard, with his movements limited to court appearances when escorted by three guards. He is also banned from leaving the country.
"We said from the beginning, because the release of Roupakias was expected, that it is necessary to ensure his presence through all stages of the court case. From here onwards, we'll see how these [security] measures apply," Andreas Tzelis, the murdered rapper's family lawyer, said to VICE Greece.
"The desire of the family and civil prosecutor which we represent is to ensure that he will be there when he must. What interests us is to ensure that this person will be there when the verdict is reached. It's clear what I mean and it's clear that there is a fear that this won't happen. I hope that the restrictions set by the decree are adequate and ensure what we want.
"This is a sad anniversary for the family," he continued. "The bitterness of the family is clear, but it's a bitterness that has lingered since September 2013. Bitterness, resentment, anger."