After the murder of a left-wing musician, the Greek public prosecutor’s office had the Golden Dawn in their sights: 38 suspects have now been convicted.

Much of the leadership of the neo-Nazi Greek Golden Dawn is sent to prison. A court in Athens decided this on Thursday afternoon in the proceedings against the extreme right-wing organization, the semi-state Greek news agency ANA-MPA reported.

Earlier discussion had been made of detention proposed by the public prosecutor’s office; there is no risk of flight and the party has already been disbanded, he said. In addition, the procedure goes to the next instance. However, the court decided otherwise.

Party founder sentenced two weeks ago

According to the decision, a total of 38 of the 50 convicted must be detained, along with senior executives and former MPs and other party members. Some of them – including party founder and leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos – had been under house arrest for years before being sentenced to 13 years in prison about two weeks ago for forming a criminal organization.

Michaloliakos spoke to journalists outside his home in Athens: “I am proud that they are taking me to prison for my ideas,” he said. One day people will be ashamed of this decision, the party will be right “by history and by the people”.

Michaloliakos had always referred to the trial as a political conspiracy, insisting that he was not a Nazi, but a nationalist. However, before and after his arrest in 2013, he repeatedly shouted “Sieg Heil” in Greek to the cameras. The party’s flag, the old symbol of the meander, is reminiscent of the swastika flags in the Third Reich.

Supporters of the Golden Dawn demonstrated in Athens in 2017: a large part of the leadership team is now in prison. (Source: Michalis Karagiannis / Reuters)

The Golden Dawn was represented in the Greek Parliament for many years. In fact, it was the third-strongest fighting force during the country’s severe financial crisis. However, in the 2019 election, it failed due to the three percent clause.

The case against the party was initiated by the death of a left-wing musician who was stabbed to death in 2013 by a supporter of the Golden Dawn. The perpetrator confessed and is serving a life sentence. The act was followed by searches and investigations against the party leadership and numerous officials for further crimes, including possession of weapons and the formation of a criminal organization.

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