On Wednesday, October 7th, a court in Athens issues some verdicts in a marathon-trial against the nationalist party Golden Dawn and several personally accused. According to the British „Guardian“, this hearing has been the biggest trial of neo-fascists since the prosecution of the Nazis at Nuremberg since the second world war.“ The trial started in 2015 after the fatal stabbing of the anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas. The offender was said being a supporter of Golden Dawn. It´s noteworthy that Fyssas was part of a mob attacking a Golden Dawn activist when this accident happened. In the following Golden Dawn was accused as a criminal organisation. Further, some leftists murdered two Golden Dawn members in an act of retaliation.
Nikolaos Michaloliakos, Chairman of Golden Dawn
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Due to leftist rallies, not least incited by several NGO`s cheap propaganda against Golden Dawn, round about 2000 police officers were deployed as well as helicopters and drones were in operation. Without question, all this exposed the court to a very high public pressure. Maybe because of this accused Golden Dawn leaders and members have been found guilty forming and running a criminal organisation by the court despite even prosecutor Adamantia Economou proposed the exoneration of all GD party officials, deeming that there is no evidence that they had any part in the planning or execution of the crimes they have been accused of. However, it was already in advance rumoured by the mainstream media that such a verdict would very likely fuel protests which indeed increased the pressure towards the judges.
Protest outside the Court of Appeals in Athens
For the sake of completeness - it needn´t specifically be mentioned - the accused have vigorously denied the charges from the very beginning of the trial. The presiding judge Maria Lepenioti, announced that seven of Golden Dawn’s leaders were culpable of leading the „deadly“ organisation. Others were found guilty of the lesser charge of participating in the criminal gang. It´s reported that those charged with directing the organisation declared as criminal can face sentences of up to 15 years in prison. It remains to be seen, how the nationalist scenery in Greece will react to this verdict and how organisational connections will be reshuffled. The activists, as well as the people who voted patriotic and, last but not least, the nationalist ideas, have not disappeared.
UPDATE (15/10/2020): The final sentences for the Golden Dawn members standing trial have been given. Their respective sentences have been listed below.
- Party member Yiorgos Roupakias was given a life sentence, for the killing of Greek anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in 2013. He was also given a separate 10-year sentence for simply being a member of Golden Dawn, which has now been declared a “criminal organisation” by Greek authorities.
- Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos was given a 13-year sentence for “heading a criminal organisation disguised as a political party”, according to Greek authorities.
- 11 other leading members of Golden Dawn were given sentences ranging from 5 to 7 years, also for holding positions of power within the party.
- Former Golden Dawn MEP Giannis Lagos was given a 13-year sentence, for his association with the party. It must be noted that Lagos has not been a member of Golden Dawn since July 2019. Since the end of 2019, he has served as leader of another Greek nationalist party – National Popular Consciousness.
- In total, Greek prosecutors handed down sentences to 65 people for simply being associated with Golden Dawn. 18 of these people were former members of the party, so are not even associated with the organisation any longer. The official charges brought against these people were being members of a “criminal group”. It remains highly questionable how former members of Golden Dawn can be accused of being associated with the party, given how they are currently no longer members. When they had been members previously, they were party members at a time when the organisation was considered perfectly legal in its existence, and membership of the organisation was not considered a criminal act. Thus the legitimacy of such charges must be placed under scrutiny.
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