ATHENS – As two more lawmakers from Greece’s ultra-far right Golden Dawn party have been detained on charges of running a criminal gang, party leaders they are being unfairly persecuted and prosecuted while the government has allowed terrorists and the corrupt to run free.
Giorgos Yermenis and Panayiotis Iliopoulos testified for several hours to two appeals court prosecutors. Yermenis, also known as Kaiadas from his stint as a bassist with Greek-Norwegian black metal band Naer Mataron, has been accused by witnesses of training Golden Dawn members to attack migrants. Another lawmaker, Efstathios Boukouras, was jailed later in the day.
They are being held at police headquarters and are expected to be transferred to an Athens prison on Jan. 13. There, they will join party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos, deputy leader Christos Pappas and Yiannis Lagos, jailed since late September, days after a left-wing rapper was murdered by a Golden Dawn member.
Golden Dawn has 18 legislators in the Parliament but eight have now been detained, effectively muting the party as the government has promised to dismantle it.
Golden Dawn said that the coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader and his partner, the PASOK Socialists, are going after them while doing little about growing financial scandals and are soft on crime, allowing two convicted terrorists to be given furloughs, which they used to escape.
Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, among those facing charges, said the political group is being politically persecuted while “terrorists and crooked politicians,” are getting away scot-free, referring to the escape of two convicted terrorists who walked away from furloughs and a growing scandal in the defense ministry and the Hellenic Postbank.
Supporters of Greece’s far right Golden Dawn party made their voices heard as three party members appealed against accusations of belonging to a criminal group.
“The terrorists are walking free, the scamming politicians of PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and New Democracy are walking free. Not a single lawmaker or minister has been called to be questioned for the scandals, the pay offs and the corruption. The only ones that are dragged illegally to jails and questioned are the lawmakers of Golden Dawn. We hope that Greek justice will prevail despite the illegal political pressures it is under,” he said, according to Euronews.
Lawyer Christos Gramatidis for human rights group Greek Helsinki Monitor, accused Golden Dawn of hypocrisy: “Golden Dawn is party that systematically slanders … it is ironic that these people are now invoking the protection of the European Courts, but this is the majesty of democracy. “