ATHENS – Greek police said three of 11 suspects of the militant neo-Nazi group Combat 18 have opened up and providing key details about its operation and structure and attacks against migrants and left-wing activists.
The group’s targets were the same as the ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn, authorities have said, and used similar methodology as the political party, all of whose 16 Members of Parliament and dozens of members who are in the third year of a trial on charges of running a criminal gang, and assaulting migrants and others.
Police said that one suspect, aged 35, said he was the group’s ringleader, running its social media, recruiting members, posting photographs of its actions, picking targets and issuing orders on how those targets should be attacked, Kathimerini reported.
The other two, aged 35 and 44, are described as the group’s “executive arm,” as they were responsible for carrying out attacks and photographing and filming the incidents. Among the attacks they are said to have admitted to are on a migrant squat in the Athens district of Exarchia, an anarchist stronghold, and on a leftist hangout in nearby Patissia, which houses many migrants and refugees.
The group’s modus operandi has been to splash gasoline around the premises of a target and set it on fire or to toss makeshift bombs. The 11 suspects were led before a public prosecutor on March 7, who pressed criminal and other charges against them for a series of offenses, including acts committed as part of the action of a criminal organization.
Sources said the group operates under the name C18 in imitation of the British far-right group ‘Combat 18’, and is considered responsible for 30 attacks on venues frequented by anti-establishment groups, migrants and other locations, the Athens-Macedonia News Agency had reported.
The charges against seven of the accused – who have been linked to C18’s activity – include those of running, joining and participating in a criminal organisation with the intention of committing crimes, arson, causing explosions and illegal possession of explosives. The remaining four were arrested for lesser offenses ascertained during house searches and other operations and will face misdemeanor-level charges, such as weapons possession, drug possession and others.
All the accused, including one 30-year-old lawyer from Piraeus, have denied the charges against them, sources told ANA, who reported that police said they were discovered by the Greece’s counter-terrorism squad in the course of its investigations.