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Politics

Greek Court Mulls Suspending Sentences for Golden Dawn Convicts

ATHENS – After handing down jail terms of up to 13 years for the leaders and dozens of members of the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party on convictions of operating or being in a criminal gang, a Greek court is looking at suspending some of the sentences.

The verdict was celebrated in Greece and other countries as a strike against Fascism but some of the those convicted could escape jail, said Kathimerini, although it wasn't said who.

The toughest terms went to party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and former lawmakers in the party that was ousted in July 7, 2019 snap elections but only narrowly, and as he and his members denied any wrongdoing.

One member, Giorgos Roupakias, convicted of the 2013 murder of anti-Fascist hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, was given a life sentence. It was that act that set in motion a probe that led to a five-year trial that brought down the party.

Arrest warrants will be issued as defendants in Greece, even in serious felony cases or major crimes, don't have to appear in court even for the verdict or sentencing. There is no right to appeal in this case, the paper said.

Michaloliakos and another five former MPs, including sitting Member of the European ParliamentP Ioannis Lagos and former party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, got 13-year sentences. The seventh ex-lawmaker characterized as belonging to the party leadership, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, got 10 years.

Besides the life term, Roupakias was sentenced to 10 years for being a member of a criminal gang and four years for weapons possession, for stabbing Fyssas to death outside a Piraeus tavern.

Stiff prison sentences were also given to those found guilty of attacks on three Egyptian fishermen in 2012 and assaults on members of the Greek Communist Party trade union PAME in 2013. 

Four former party lawmakers, Stathis Boukouras, Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, Nikos Michos and Michalis Arvanitis – were given five-year terms each due to mitigating circumstances which means they likely won't go to jail.

After mitigating circumstances were rejected in most of the cases, defense lawyers were set to argue again for leniency for their clients who had been belligerent right through the trial.

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