Sentencing Pushed Back, Golden Dawn Leaders Want No Jail Time

ATHENS – A week after the leaders of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party were given jail sentences up to 13 years after being convicted of running a criminal gang, a Greek court still hasn't decided if they'll be arrested.

The court held only a brief session on Oct. 20 and said it would convene again the next day as defense lawyers and those convicted were frantically trying to avoid going to jail, seeking suspended sentences and making probation pleas.

Court President Maria Lepeniotou questioned  prosecutor Adamandia Oikonomou who had wanted the party's leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, and 17 other former lawmakers acquitted outright, then recommended only suspended sentences despite the severity of the crimes.

Oikonomou said none of Golden Dawn's hierarchy had prior criminal records and should get off because of that and that Ioannis Lagos, a Member of the European Parliament, hadn't violated restrictions during the pre-trial process although rulings proved he had.

The adjournment decision gives Lagos' lawyer time to attempt to prove that his client did not violate restrictions, said Kathimerini. Dozens of party members face lesser sentences and a number could walk free, apart from Giorgos Roupakias, sentenced to life for the 2013 murder of anti-Fascist hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas.


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