Convicted leader of Greek far-right Golden Dawn party released on parole

Convicted leader of Greek far-right Golden Dawn party released on parole

The convicted leader and founder of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party, Nikos Mihaloliakos, has been released from prison on parole, a Greek police source and state television ERT said on Thursday.

Mihaloliakos, 66, and other members of Golden Dawn were sentenced in 2020 following a high-profile, five-year trial for running a criminal gang linked to hate crimes during the country’s economic crisis.

Mihaloliakos, who was serving a 13-year sentence in a prison in the Greek countryside, had been temporarily treated in hospital in recent months before returning to prison, the police source said, adding that he has been at home since Wednesday.

The restrictions include a ban on travelling outside the greater Athens area and an obligation to regularly check in with a police station near his house, the semi-state Athens News Agency reported.

Mihaloliakos’ request for parole was approved by a board of judges, who took into account his prison labour and his health issues, an official at Greece’s citizen protection ministry told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Golden Dawn, whose emblem resembles a swastika and whose members, including Mihaloliakos, were often seen giving Nazi-style salutes, entered the Greek parliament in 2012 at the peak of Greece’s debt crisis, seizing on public anger over painful austerity. The party, however, failed to win a single parliamentary seat in 2019 elections that brought the conservative New Democracy party to power.

Golden Dawn began to unravel in September 2013, when a party supporter was arrested for the killing of Pavlos Fyssas, a musician and rapper aligned to the political left.

In a statement published by ERT on Thursday, lawyers representing Fyssas’ family said Mihaloliakos’ release “constitutes a maximum insult to Golden Dawn’s victims and their families, and to all of Greek society.”

Before last year’s national election, Greece passed a law amendment to prevent political parties such as Golden Dawn from running as candidates.


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