The Greek newspaper Kathimerini writes of mounting evidence against members of the extreme right-wing political party Golden Dawn after the killing of rapper Pavlos Fyssas. Wiretapped phone calls appear to suggest Golden Dawn was involved in the case, the newspaper reports. The government, meanwhile, is introducing new legislation to limit the influence of the party.Øyvind Strømmen
The Greek rap musician Pavlos Fyssas – aka “Killah P” – was stabbed to death early on September 18, at age 34. According to the BBC, the police soon arrested a 45-year old man, who they say has confessed to the murder. The 45-year-old was described as a member of the extreme right-wing political party Golden Dawn, which promptly denied any involvement with the stabbing.
Members of the Golden Dawn party have been involved in a number of violent attacks in the past, targeting immigrants, ethnic minorities and political opponents. A well-known example is the Periandros case. Prominent party member Antonios Androutsopoulos – known as Periandros – was involved in the attempted murder of three left-wing students in June 1998. He evaded arrest for years, but eventually turned himself in in 2005 and was convicted to 21 years in prison in 2006. As the Greek newspaper Kathimerini notes in its English-language edition, Golden Dawn’s handling of the Periandros case says a great deal about the party: “While Androutsopoulos was in hiding, Golden Dawn defended him and claimed that the nationalist movement was being dragged through the dirt, but when he turned himself in, the party denied any connection to him in order to protect the party leadership.”
However, the killing of the left-wing but politically independent rapper in mid-September set something new in motion. The Greek authorities acted with unprecedented speed, saying they have gathered evidence linking the Golden Dawn party to the stabbing, as well as to other criminal activities. On 28 Sept. they arrested a number of key members of the party, including its leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, who was charged with belonging to a criminal organization, according to the BBC. Simultaneously, government leaders are introducing a number of reforms aimed at curbing the funding and influence of the party. Such moves in Greece are nothing short of dramatic, as Golden Dawn is not some neo-fascist grouplet but a political party with 18 seats in the parliament (see also: Extremist Dawn). Golden Dawn won almost 8 per cent of the vote in the 2012 elections, and has surpassed that level in some opinion polls.
According to Kathimerini, extracts of a leaked prosecutor’s report offer insight into illicit party activities while transcripts of phone calls intercepted by the police appear to implicate the party in the killing of Pyssas:
Incriminating evidence against Golden Dawn mounted Monday, as six of its deputies prepared to face a magistrate on criminal charges from Tuesday, with extracts of a leaked prosecutor’s report offering insights into GD’s modus operandi and illicit activities while transcripts of wiretapped phone conversations between members of the extreme right-wing party appeared to implicate the grouping in the murder of a leftist rapper last month.
Police have also been searching for heavy weaponry believed to be kept in a secret cache, and have carried out a number of raids, turning up weapons, ammunition and Nazi paraphernalia. The leaked report also indicates, according to Kathimerini, that the party sought members with martial art skills to train new arrivals, and that it actively recruited adolescent youngsters for hit squads as part of a program called “Centaur”.
Pyssas’s music often had an anti-fascist message, and he appeared to be aware that violence might come his way. As he sang in “I won’t cry, I won’t fear”:
To those who betrayed me by backstabbing me,
I want them to know that I will not bother to cry.