Golden Dawn leaders fight to avoid jail

Golden Dawn leaders fight to avoid jail

The leadership of Golden Dawn on Friday continued to beseech judges who gave them prison terms for running a criminal organization to suspend their sentences in a session that ran into the afternoon, meaning a decision is not expected now until early next week. 

Prominent former MPs as well as members of the neo-Nazi party that have received prison terms for violent crimes linked to GD turned up in court on Friday to press their case for their sentences to be suspended. Most had not set foot in court during the five-and-a-half years of the trial and were reprimanded by presiding judge Maria Lepenioti for disrespecting the court and the victims of the attacks linked to GD. 

Former party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris was among the key representatives of the party leadership who appeared in court, seeking a suspension so he can appeal his 13-year prison sentence. Kasidiaris, who formed his own political party earlier this year, said that his incarceration would destroy his professional career.

He also stressed that public prosecutor Adamantia Economou had originally proposed that the party leadership be cleared of running a criminal organization and claimed that a large crowd of protesters outside the Athens court complex last Wednesday had influenced the judges in their decision. 

Giorgos Germenis, another ex-MP sentenced to 13 years, said he respected the court’s decision but would fight to get his sentence suspended. Germenis’ mother, who testified in court as a witness, said that her son had spent his whole time in pre-trial custody reading and now was entirely focused on his children. 

On Monday, Economou is to propose who should be jailed and whose sentences should be suspended. The court will then rule either later on Monday or Tuesday, paving the way for arrests.

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