ATHENS – His immunity as a Member of the European Parliament lifted, a former top official of the disbanded neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, Yiannis Lagos, began his jail sentence in a central Greek prison May 16, seven months after being convicted with his former colleagues of running a criminal gang.
Lagos landed at Athens' international airport the day before and live footage from Open TV showed him escorted handcuffed into a black van, under heavy police guard.
After being taken to a prosecutor he was whisked to the high-security prison in Domokos where the rest of the gang is imprisoned, apart from the former second-in-command, Christos Pappas, who's a fugitive.
Lagos was convicted to 13 years in prison by a court in Athens but fled to Brussels where he kept collecting his salary and benefits until the EU Parliament, after being singled out in media reports for being reluctant to act, finally did.
Golden Dawn was founded as a Nazi-inspired group in the 1980s. It saw a surge in popularity during Greece’s 2010-2018 financial crisis, gaining parliamentary representation between 2012 and 2019.
Lagos was a member of Greece’s Parliament throughout this period, before being elected to the European Parliament in 2019. He, like other former lawmakers, had left Golden Dawn.
The five-year trial in Athens was launched following the 2013 murder of rapper and left-wing activist Pavlos Fyssas, who was stabbed to death by a Golden Dawn supporter, the act that brought the beginning of the end of the party.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)