Court rejects requests to release jailed Golden Dawn defendants

Court rejects requests to release jailed Golden Dawn defendants

An appeals court in Athens rejected on Wednesday requests by four defendants in the Golden Dawn trial – including MEP and former member of Greece’s neo-Nazi party, Ioannis Lagos – to be released from jail.

On hearing the decision of the judges, Lagos began to applaud mockingly. Apart from Lagos, requests to be released from prison had been submitted by the Perama party leader Anastasios Pandazis, Elpidoforos Kalaritis and Giorgos Stambellos, all of whom cited irreparable damage suffered by themselves and their families from their stay in prison. The decision follows the prosecutor’s recommendation announced at the last court session on June 15

Speaking earlier in the session, Lagos claimed that he is a “political prisoner” and told the court that he has been wronged and imprisoned for a total of three years “completely unfairly.”

The session was adjourned until July 26 when it will rule on a request by former Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos to postpone the trial, citing reasons of ill health. The court asked for a recent, detailed certificate on the state of his health and, if possible, an assessment by the doctors as to when his health will be restored.

According to his lawyer, Michaloliakos spent many days in an ICU after being infected with Covid-19 and is now in a rehabilitation center.

The new trial comes approximately 18 months after 18 leading figures, including leader Nikos Michaloliakos, and former MPs were convicted of operating a criminal organisation and handed sentences of up to 13 years and eight months.

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