On Trial, Greece’s Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Coming Apart

Former Golden Dawn lawmakers MP Ilias Panagiotaros. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Tatiana Bollari)

ATHENS – Losing a re-election bid for Parliament, its finances in disarray and infighting and finger-pointing abounding, Greece’s once-soaring ultra-extreme right Golden Dawn, accused of using neo-Nazi tactics, continued to implode during the fourth of a trial of its hierarchy and dozens of members on charges of running a criminal gang, one accused of murder.

The trial of Golden Dawn picked up again with the testimony of former lawmakers MP Ilias Panagiotaros as Kathimerini said the party leaders were trying to blame members of local party organizations of wrongdoing to deflect blame from themselves.

Panagiotaros claimed that Giorgos Patelis and Ioannis Kazantzoglou, members of the Nikaia chapter in western Athens, were both ejected from after the killing of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013 for which another member, Giorgos Roupakias is accused.

Panagiotaros said the decision, and similar decisions following an attack on PAME Communist activists around the same time, was taken by party chief Nikos Michaloliakos without a prior meeting of the party’s disciplinary committee.

Patelis had told the court, however that he had never been removed as did former lawmaker Nikos Michos who said he had urged party leaders to get rid of troublemakers but that it was never mentioned again.

Asked about his description of migrants as “subhumans,” “scum” and “trash,” Panagiotaros said he was only referring to migrants that commit crimes – and said that represents 99.9 percent of them in a blanket indictment.

Asked about photographs of GD members giving Nazi-style salutes, Panagiotaros said that this type of gesture was banned by the party although it was frequently shown in the media with thousands of pages of evidence indicating the party revered Hiter-style tactics.

But in his testimony, former MP Kostas Barbarousis said that the Nazi salute “is the best there is,” adding that “it has been demonized because it was used by Hitler.”

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