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Politics

Greece: Golden Dawn Leaders Jailed for 13 Years

October 14, 2020

ATHENS — A Greek court sentenced the leadership of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party to 13 years in prison Wednesday, imposing the near-maximum penalty for running a criminal organization blamed for numerous violent hate crimes.

Presiding judge Maria Lepenioti read out the sentences against party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and seven other former lawmakers. One of eight leading party members received 10 years. 

The landmark ruling follows a five-year trial of dozens of top officials, members and supporters of Golden Dawn, an organization founded as a neo-Nazi group in the 1980s that rose to become Greece's third-largest political during a major financial crisis in the previous decade.

Eleven other former parliament members were jailed for between five and seven years for membership of a criminal organization, while a party associate was given a life sentence for the murder of Greek rap singer Pavlos Fyssas in a 2013 attack that triggered the crackdown against the party.

Arrests will be carried out after the court hears final arguments for probation considerations. Golden Dawn was blamed for orchestrating multiple attacks, mostly in Athens, against immigrants and left-wing activists, many resulting in serious injury. A total of 57 party members and associates were convicted on Oct. 7, mostly for the involvement in carrying out or planning violent attacks. During the weeklong sentencing hearings, lawyers for the defense argued that court had failed to demonstrate any clear link between the attacks and the activities of the party leadership.

The party was represented in Greece's parliament between 2012 and 2019, having won the required number of votes in four separate general elections. Ioannis Lagos, a former Golden Dawn lawmaker who was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in prison, is currently a member of the European Parliament, traveled to Athens this week to attend the sentencing hearings. He launched an unsuccessful legal challenge to have the panel of three judges trying the case replaced on grounds of alleged bias and political interference. 

After an initial announcement of the sentences, on Wednesday afternoon the appeals court announced the consolidated sentences per person, taking into account both crimes and misdemeanors. The court must now decide whether these will be suspended pending appeal or whether the accused will be sent straight to prison, in a session on Thursday.

The sentences announced by the judge, which in total exceed 500 years imprisonment, were as follows, updated on Wednesday afternoon:

Leadership of Golden Dawn:

Nikos Michaloliakos (founder, leader) – 13 years and 6 months

Giorgos Germenis – 13 years and 6 months

Ilias Kasidiaris – 13 years and 6 months

Ioannis Lagos – 13 years and 8 months

Artemis Mattheopoulos – 10 years

Ilias Panagiotaros – 13 years

Christos Pappas – 13 years and 3 months

Former MPs, sentenced for membership and participation in criminal organization (no extenuating circumstances admitted):

Konstantinos Barbaroussis – 6 years

Antonis Gregos – 6 years

Panagiotis Iliopoulos – 7 years

Dimitris Koukoutsis – 6 years

Nikos Kouzilos – 7 years

Eleni Zaroulia (wife of Nikos Michaloliakos) – 6 years

Polyvios Zissimopoulos – 6 years

Former MPs, sentenced for membership and participation in criminal organization (court admits extenuating circumstances):

Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos – 5 years

Michalis Arvanitis – 5 years

Efstathios Boukouras – 5 years and 6 months

Nikos Michos – 6 years

1) For the murder of Pavlos Fyssas:

Giorgos Roupakias – life plus 10 years, plus 14 years for misdemeanours

Ioannis Aggos – 9 years as an accomplice and 2 months for joining a criminal organisation

Anastasios Marios Anadiotis – 7 years

Aristotelis Chrysafitis – 7 years

Giorgos Dimou – 7 years

Ioannis Kazantzoglou – 10 years and 2 months

Elpidoforos Kalaritis – 9 years

Ioannis Komianos – 9 years

Konstantinos Korkovilis – 9 years

Anastasios Mihalaros – 9 years and 2 months

Giorgos Patelis – 10 years and 2 months

Stavros Santorineos – 2 years for illegal gun carrying and 2,000-euro fine, suspended for 3 years

Giorgos Skalkos – 7 years

Giorgos Stabelos – 9 years

Giorgos Tsakanikas – 6 years

Leon Tsalikis – 9 years

Athanasios Tsorvas – 9 years

Nikolaos Tsorvas – 9 years

2) Attack on Egyptian fishing boat workers:

Seven years for attempted murder for Dimitris Agriogiannis, Markos Evgenikos, Thomas Marias, Konstantinos Papadopoulos and Anastasios Pantazis (head of Perama chapter), who also got an additional 24 months.

3) Attack on PAME (converted to a misdemeanour):

Kyriakos Antonakopoulos – 3 years and 6 months, payable by 5 euros per day

Ioannis Kastrinos- 3 years and 6 months, payble as above

Antonis Hatzidakis – 6 years, payable as above

4) Defendants facing only charges for joining a criminal organisation:

Seven years each for Nikolaos APostolou, Venetia Popori (who also got 4 months). Six years each for Dionyssios Liakopoulos, Thomas Barekas (including another 2 months), Nikolaos Papavassiliou, Vassilis Siatounis, Christos Stergiopoulos, Athanassios Stratos and Giorgos Tsakanikas.

Four others as follows: Aristodimos Daskalakis (Ierapetra chapter head, 5 years), Margarita Mikelatou (2 years, 3-year suspension of sentence), Theodoros Stefas (17 months, 3-year suspension of sentence), Theoni Skarpeli (1 year and 1,000-euro fine, 3-year suspension of sentence), and Anastassios Chilios (2 years, 2,000-euro sentence, payable by 5 euros per day).

 

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