The trial of Golden Dawn enters a key phase on Wednesday, when the neo-Nazi party’s leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, takes the stand to respond to accusations of running what effectively constitutes a criminal organization.
Michaloliakos, 61, could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of a host of additional crimes, including moral instigation in the 2013 murder of 34-year-old musician Pavlos Fyssas by a self-professed party member and two brutal attacks by party supporters in the same year – one on a group of Egyptian fishermen and the other on communist-affiliated PAME unionists.
The landmark trial began in April 2015 and, after hearing from hundreds of witnesses, is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.
The key accusation is that Golden Dawn was structured similarly to a criminal organization, with a hierarchy that is complicit in any crimes committed by officials and members lower down the chain of command.
Seventy party officials and members have been accused of orchestrating a wave of violence that culminated in the fatal stabbing of Fyssas, a musician and vocal opponent of the neo-Nazi party.