Yorgos Patelis, the former leader of the strong Nikaia cell of the paramilitary branch of Golden Dawn, which was responsible for the mobilisation of the neo-Nazi party’s storm troopers who murdered anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, today told the judge at his trial that he had nothing to do with the murder.

“I did not put anyone up to committing murder. I am truly sad about where that young man [Fyssas] ended up. I condemn what happened. They threw me in jail like a piece of garbage. When [confessed murderer Yorgos] Roupakias called me and said he had knifed someone I told him ‘go cut your throat’,” Patelis told the court today.

Nikaia had Golden Dawn’s most organised and violent assault battalions which have been implicated in murder, blackmail, and protection rackets.

When Fyssas was murdered in September, 2013, then public order minister Nikos Dendias had ordered broad surveillance of the group, the members of which were soon in a panic and communicated extensively by telephone.

On 28 September, 2013, ten days after Fyssas was murdered, To Vima  had reported that Patelis was being closely scrutinised by Greek Police considerably earlier for another criminal attack in Keratsini (where Fyssas was murdered).

The probe indicated that the Nikaia assault battalion was used a “joker” or a select group that participated in Golden Dawn attacks both in Attica and outside.

In that probe, incriminating evidence had been found about murders in Petralona and Keratsini , a bomb attack in Volos, and other Golden Dawn attacks in Halkida and Aitoloakarnania, To Vima had reported.

A high-level Greek police source had told the newspaper that, “Many from the Nikaia cell, exploiting their putative strength, were selling protection to Greeks and foreigners. In the name of bolstering Golden Dawn they turned into gangs of blackmailers who ravaged the area.”

How Patelis entered Golden Dawn, ties with Lagos

Patelis told the court’s presiding judge, Maria Lepenioti, that he joined Golden Dawn after attending a commemoration of the death of three helicopter pilots in the 1996 Imia crisis.

“I heard a number of speeches about the fatherland and Greeks and people singing the national anthem. I started meeting Golden Dawn guys on Facebook,” Patelis said.

Patelis admitted that when he contacted the members of the assault battalion to descend on Fyssas after the rapper had argued with some Golden Dawn members at a café, he had written that it was on orders from MP Yannis Lagos (photo), who was the top Golden Dawn man in Piraeus.

Lagos is May was elected to the European Parliament.

Today he covered for Lagos and said that the former MP had not issued the order and that he used Lagos’ name to underscore the urgency of the mobilisation and to get more Golden Dawn members to come.

However Patelis and Lagos had eight telephone conversations the night of Fyssas’ murder.

“I have nothing to do with Nazism. That SS [Hitler’s paramilitary  Schutzstaffel] flag that appears in a picture was sent to me via Kostas Korkovilis,” Patelis said, asserting also that his Nazi salute was actually an ancient Greek salute used by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas in the 1930’s.

Patelis, Roupakias in touch the night of the murder

Patelis said that the night of Fyssas’ murder he was at the Golden Dawn local branch office.

“Roupakias [who initially denied any connection to Golden Dawn] was simply an active member. I had sent him to Mesegeion Avenue to pick up t-shirts. He and his family, his children and wife] would help us out. They helped just like everyone helped,” Patelis said.

A few hours earlier Lagos had told him party leader Nikos Michaloliakos would be visiting.

Patelis said he sent Roupakias to Peristeri to pick up flyers for the speech and that Roupakias called at 22:30 -23:00 and said he had the flyers.