Golden Dawn MPs’ immunity lifted after tense session

Parliament tightens security as two legislators released from jail to attend vote

Parliament on Wednesday voted to lift the immunity from prosecution of two Golden Dawn MPs – Giorgos Germenis and Nikos Michos – and two former MPs – Stathis Boukouras and Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos – after a tense session in the House.

MPs voted by an overwhelming majority to lift the immunity of Germenis and Boukouras for charges of illegally possessing weapons and explosives, of Michos for drug-related charges, and Alexopoulos for belonging to a criminal organization.

All 18 MPs elected on Golden Dawn’s ticket in 2012 – including Boukouras and Alexopoulos, who quit the party in March – face charges of belonging to a criminal organization. Separate parliamentary votes have been held periodically to lift their immunity on other charges brought by prosecutors.

Security was tight outside Parliament on Wednesday as Germenis and Boukouras were transferred from Korydallos and Nafplio prisons respectively. Golden Dawn MPs sought passes for some 50 supporters to attend the session but public access to the House was banned amid fears of upheaval.

In their speeches, both Boukouras and Alexopoulos distanced themselves from the party. Boukouras cried at the podium, drawing jeers from his former colleagues, and insisted he was “not a fascist or a Nazi.” Alexopoulos said he had wanted to quit GD after the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas last September by a GD supporter but that he delayed leaving due to fear of reprisals against himself and his family.

Both Germenis and Michos reiterated their allegiance to the neo-Nazi party. Germenis singled out Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou, saying he would “always remember” him.

MPs approved the motion to lift the immunity of the four, as expected. But there were some surprises as a handful of coalition lawmakers were among those who voted down the motion for Boukouras and Alexopoulos.