ATHENS – Two members of the ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn party who had been Members of Parliament were sentenced to four months in jail for firing a weapon without cause at the funeral of former junta Col. Nikos Dertilis in 2013.
Ilias Panagiotaros and Konstantinos Barbarousis had attended the funeral, the party being admirers of the Colonels who ruled from 1967-74, suppressing democracy in a crackdown against the Left and Communists. Dertilis died at 92.
Police officers who testified in the trial, said they heard shootings at the funeral and saw a group of about 20 people, among which were the two accused, said Kathimerini, with witnesses also saying that ballistic tests on the 15 bullet casings they collected at the scene proved they came from the suspects’ weapons.
Their lawyer said they should be acquitted, arguing that they didn’t know what they were doing was unlawful because “shooting in the air is a custom in some regions of the country,” especially on Crete, although people – including a schoolboy – have been killed by falling bullets.
The defendants were sentenced in absentia because they weren’t in court, a common occurrence in Greece as they aren’t compelled with no explanation how they would now be apprehended and jailed for the crime.
Dertilis died of an acute ischaemic cerebral episode in an Athens hospital. The ex-colonel had spent 37 years in prison after receiving a life sentence for the murder of 20-year-old student Michalis Myroyiannis during the Athens Polytechnic uprising in November 1973, an event that roused the country and brought down the military dictatorship the following year.