NEWS

As Golden Dawn probe widens, more MPs targeted

As witnesses provided a barrage of damning testimony against Golden Dawn, prosecutors Monday asked Parliament to lift the immunity of four of the ultra-right party’s MPs, including one of the six arrested last week on charges of belonging to a criminal organization.

The prosecutors’ appeal related to Panagiotis Iliopoulos, Giorgos Germenis and Stathis Boukouras, and was aimed at ensuring they also face criminal charges along with the six MPs arrested last week – including party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, his second-in-command Christos Pappas, and party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris. The prosecutor also asked for the immunity to be lifted of Ilias Panagiotaros, who was arrested last week and released pending trial. The new charges against him involve resisting arrest in a different case dating to 2010.

Boukouras visited the Athens court complex and told magistrates he was available for questioning following accusations that he led attacks on immigrants and had a hidden cache of firearms. The lawmaker told reporters he had gone to court to prove that claims by a secret witness about the party’s activities were false. The witness, who said he was a member of GD until June 2012, claimed that attacks on immigrants were encouraged.

Another witness, who claimed to have recently left GD, reportedly told an investigating magistrate that the party had a plan to “overthrow democracy” and had told members at frequent gatherings that they intended to “enter Parliament in tanks.”

Earlier in the day, the MPs who were released last week pending trial, were in Parliament for a religious ceremony marking the return to full sessions at the House after summer. There was no upheaval but the bishops conducting the service did not approach the Golden Dawn benches.

In a related development, the head of GD’s cell in Perama, near Piraeus, was remanded in custody after answering to charges that he organized an assault on nine Greek Communist Party members last month.