[QODLink]
Europe

Two Golden Dawn MPs imprisoned in Greece

Giorgos Germenis and Panayiotis Iliopoulos charged with playing key roles in a series of attacks by a criminal group.

Last updated: 12 Jan 2014 05:27
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Golden Dawn intends to challenge the government's crackdown in the European Court of Human Rights [EPA]

Two more politicians from the far-right Golden Dawn party have been jailed on charges of playing a pivotal role in a criminal organisation.

A third member of the party is facing similar accusations and will testify to prosecutors on Sunday.

Giorgos Germenis and Panayiotis Iliopoulos have previously been charged with joining and directing a criminal organisation as part of a government crackdown on the party, which it has branded a "neo-Nazi criminal gang."

According to the state-run Athens News Agency (ANA), a witness said Germenis allegedly had the role of an "army major" in the recruitment and training of new members as well as in migrant attacks.

Another politician, Stathis Boukouras, who faces the same charges, also appeared before magistrates but his fate regarding jail will be decided on Sunday.

Three members of the party, including Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and his deputy, have been jailed since October.

A further three, including Ilias Kasidiaris, the party spokesman, have already been charged in connection with an investigation following the murder of an anti-fascist musician in September.

All three MPs, who had their parliamentary immunity lifted, denied the charges on Saturday, with Iliopoulos claiming that Golden Dawn is not a criminal organisation and that "assault militias don't exist".

'Terrorists are walking free'

About 150 extreme-right supporters, among them Michaloliakos's wife and daughter, chanted slogans and held flags outside the magistrate's office in the afternoon..

"The terrorists are walking free," Ilias Kasidiaris said referring to the recent escape while on a furlough of far-left militant Christodoulos Xiros, member of the 17 November organisation, designated a terrorist group.

"The hustlers of PASOK and New Democracy are walking freely, not even one MP or minister has been called in for questioning for the scandals and the bribes. The only ones dragged in examinations and illegal imprisonments are Golden Dawn MPs," he added.

Golden Dawn announced during a press conference on Friday its intention to challenge the Greek government's crackdown on its party in the European Court of Human Rights.

Procedures that led to the jailing of Michaloliakos and other MPs were denounced as "illegal and unconstitutional" to reporters present.

The press conference was also attended by MEP Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right British National Party, who pledged his support for the neo-Nazi party.

The September killing of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas prompted a government crackdown against Golden Dawn that magistrates say has unmasked the group's violent paramilitary activities.

412

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.