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Politics

Released from Prison Early, Golden Dawn Ex-Leader Has Easter at Home

ATHENS – Among those enjoying a late Greek Easter this year, coming in May which saw hordes leave the cities for their home villages and islands to celebrate was Nikos Michaloliakos, the former neo-Nazi Golden Dawn leader released early from jail.

Over the howls of critics who cried it was leniency because he was unrepentant after being convicted – along with all his other Members of Parliament and dozens of party members – he got out after serving only 4 year of a 13-½ year sentence.

He was allowed to return home in time for Easter although his discharge, under a range of conditions – including that he can’t associate again with any of his former charges – was just made public. It wasn’t said if the others still in jail would get out next.

In a review, the British newspaper The Guardian’s Athens correspondent Helena Smith noted the fury his release brought although convicted public figures in Greece often are released early or allowed to buy out jail time to avoid facing a cell.https://www.theguardian.com/world/article/2024/may/02/prison-release-of-golden-dawn-founder-angers-greek-anti-fascists

“It’s a scandalous decision,” said Petros Constantinou, the chief coordinator of the anti-Fascist front, known as Keerfa. “It did not need to happen and will give the green light to Fascists to regroup and continue attacks ahead of the European elections.”

While Golden Dawn was broken down after its hierarchy was jailed for running a criminal gang, he said it has operatives behind the scenes, with Michaloliakos complaining he was a political prisoner and stuck to his neo-Nazi beliefs, a court saying that wasn’t a crime.

Greek media reported his release application had been vigorously opposed by a state prosecutor who said that despite Michaloliakos serving 60 percent of his term, including pre-trial detention, that he was unremorseful. The court didn’t care.

He also has to present himself at a police station once a month and was forbidden from leaving the greater Athens region of Attica, no reason given why he wasn’t allowed greater freedoms while out.

Now 67, he said he was in poor health, a reason often cited by high-profile criminals who want to get out of jail and sometimes succeed despite protests from families of victims and others, public criticism disregarded.

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