Leaders of Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party are jailed for 13 years for running a criminal organisation
- Nikos Michaloliakos, leader of Golden Dawn, jailed alongside party’s former MPs
- All were jailed for 15 years for running a criminal gang disguised as political party
- Party member was also jailed for life for murder of anti-fascist rapper in 2013
- Stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas in Athens led to investigation against the group
The leaders of Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn have been jailed for 13 years each for running a criminal enterprise disguised as a political party.
Nikos Michaloliakos, the party’s founder and leader, was handed the sentence alongside six members of his inner circle who once served as Greek MPs.
One, Ioannis Lagos, still serves as a member of the European Parliament. Judges must ask the EU to wave his diplomatic immunity so he can be jailed.
Giorgios Roupakias, a party member, was also jailed for life for the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, who was stabbed to death in Athens in 2013.
Judges in Greece have jailed eight leaders of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn for at least 13 years for running a criminal group disguised as a political party
Magda and Panagiotis Fyssas, parents of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas who was murdered by Golden Dawn members, listen as the verdict is read out
It was the investigation of Fyssas’s murder that led to Golden Dawn being put on trial as a party in 2015, a process which has now concluded.
In total, 57 defendants were convicted of crimes ranging from running a criminal organisation, murder and assault to illegal weapons possession.
Most members were sentenced to between five and seven years in jail. Judges will decide at a later date whether any of the terms will be suspended.
Among them was party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, who during a 2012 TV debate hurled a glass of water at a female politician, slapping another one on the face.
Golden Dawn was blamed for orchestrating multiple attacks, mostly in Athens, against immigrants and left-wing activists, many resulting in serious injury.
Most were convicted for involvement in carrying out or planning violent attacks
Nikos Michaloliakos, founder and leader of Golden Dawn (file image), was among those jailed – receiving an extra year for possession of an illegal weapon
Yannis Lagos, Golden Dawn’s MEP, was also jailed. Greek judges will now have to ask the EU to waive his diplomatic immunity so he can be imprisoned
The sentencing brings to a close a five-year trial that saw Golden Dawn ruled a criminal organisation that had used violence to intimidate opponents
On top of his 13-year sentence, Michaloliakos received an extra year for possession of an illegal weapon.
An eighth leading member of the part received a sentence of 10 years in jail.
None of the party’s leading members were in court as the sentences were handed down. Only one – Lagos – had travelled to Athens during the trial.
He led an unsuccessful attempt to have the judges thrown out for political bias.
Arrests will be carried out after the court hears final arguments for probation considerations.
During the weeklong sentencing hearings, lawyers for the defense argued that court had failed to demonstrate any clear link between the attacks and the activities of the party leadership.
Pavlos Fyssas, who performed under the name Killah P (pictured at a gig in 2011) was chased down and stabbed to death by a gang of Golden Dawn supporters in Athens in 2013
Golden Dawn, which was founded with the aim of bringing military dictatorship back to Greece, denies being neo-Nazi – though it makes use of Nazi symbolism (file image)
During the trial itself, prosecutors told the court that Michaloliakos – a Holocaust denier and former protege of Greek dictator Georgios Papadopoulos – ran his party under a military-style hierarchy modelled on Hitler’s Nazi party.
The party was in parliament from 2012 onwards, with its lawmakers repeatedly shocking the chamber with provocative and aggressive behaviour.
However, amid a rise in left-wing sentiment the party has fallen out of favour, and last year failed to win a single seat in parliamentary elections.
It failed to win a single seat in last year’s parliamentary election.
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