NEWS

Golden Dawn leaders face stiff terms amid delays

golden-dawn-leaders-face-stiff-terms-amid-delays

The leadership of Golden Dawn face long prison terms after an Athens court on Monday deemed that they should not be shown leniency in sentencing, which was delayed after one of the party’s former MPs, the member of the European Parliament Ioannis Lagos, called for the court to be dismissed, citing “bias” against the neo-Nazi party, an appeal that was rejected.

GD leader Nikos Michaloliakos another six former MPs – Lagos, Christos Pappas, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, Ilias Panagiotaros, Ilias Kasidiaris and Giorgos Germenis – now face prison terms of 5-15 years for running a criminal organization. The court allowed mitigating circumstances for only four of the party’s former 18 MPs and another 10 members of GD.

There will also be no leniency for Giorgos Roupakias for the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, and to those convicted over attacks on Egyptian fishermen in 2012 and members of the Communist Party trade union PAME in 2013.

After announcing the decision on who would be granted leniency on Monday, the court had been scheduled to start considering the sentences – starting with a prosecutor proposing sentences, defense lawyers offering their counterarguments and then the court decision. However, Lagos arrived in court and appealed for the court’s dismissal, setting back the procedure.

“I believe that there is a prevailing bias against the defendants and that the judges involved in the case came under direct and indirect pressure from the political establishment,” Lagos declared. A new panel of judges was appointed to consider his demand, which a prosecutor proposed be rejected on the basis of lack of evidence, and after several hours dismissed his appeal.

Kathimerini understands that Lagos’ initiative had been orchestrated by GD’s leadership in a bid to change the composition of the court and secure more lenient sentences.