Greek neo-Nazi leaders given 13-year sentences

  • Greek neo-Nazi leaders given 13-year sentences

Greek neo-Nazi leaders given 13-year sentences

Golden Dawn's top figures were arrested in 2013, after the killing of Fyssas prompted huge protests across Greece and led to a government crackdown on the party.

A Greek court has sentenced the leadership of the Golden Dawn movement to 13 years in prison, imposing the near-maximum penalty for running a criminal organisation blamed for numerous violent hate crimes.

None of Golden Dawn's main members attended the sentencing.

"He not only receives a life-sentence for murder, he also gets an extra 10 years on top of that for associated crimes such as weapons possession".

At the height of its political power, Golden Dawn was Greece's third-most popular party as voters sought radical change during the nation's crippling financial crisis.

Other former lawmakers were sentenced to 5-7 years in prison for being members of a criminal group. In total, more than 50 defendants were convicted of various crimes, including running a criminal enterprise, murder, assault and illegal weapons possession.

Those denied this right will likely be detained later this week.

Yorgos Roupakias, guilty of the murder of an antifascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013, has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a 10-year prison sentence.

The panel of three-judges will now determine whether any of the sentences can be suspended pending an appeal by the defendants.

A search of party members' homes in 2013 uncovered firearms and other weapons, as well as Nazi memorabilia.

During the trial, prosecutors successfully argued that Golden Dawn was a criminal organisation ran by Michaloliakos which used a military-style hierarchy modelled on Hitler's Nazi party.

"Today's sentencing of the neo-Nazi organization demonstrates the resilience of our democracy and the rule of law", Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a tweet Wednesday evening.

Presiding judge Maria Lepenioti read out the 13-year sentences against party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and five other former lawmakers.

The authorities launched an inquiry into whether the party was a criminal organisation in parallel with the criminal investigation into the rapper's murder and into violent attacks on immigrants and left-wing activists.

The party won 18 seats in parliament in 2012, with its lawmakers repeatedly shocking the chamber with provocative and aggressive behaviour. It spent seven years in parliament from 2012 to 2019.

Time served in pre-trial detention will be deducted from the overall sentence.