ATHENS, Greece — A Greek court on Thursday adjourned the sentencing process of 18 former lawmakers of this intense right-wing Golden Dawn celebration and many others convicted in the case, a day following the three-member panel of judges delivered a landmark verdict characterize the party a criminal association.
The court hearing will resume Friday morning with summations from the attorneys representing the former lawmakers, including the party’s chief, together with discussions on mitigating conditions for much more lenient sentences to be levied.
Wednesday’s verdict was that the culmination of a last-minute, politically-charged trial which included 68 defendants — party officials, members, and alleged supporters — over 200 witnesses and above 60 attorneys. Around 20,000 people held an anti-fascist rally outside the courthouse for its verdict, and tens of thousands more held a similar rally at the northern town of Thessaloniki.
Golden Dawn, set up as a neo-Nazi set from the 1980s, rose to prominence throughout Greece’s barbarous near decade-long fiscal crisis that started in 2009, also became the nation’s third-largest party. Considered a model for several extreme-right bands in Europe and outside, it kept parliamentary seats from 2012 before 2019, when its popularity plummeted in federal elections.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas described the court decision because “historical significance,” and added: “What’s significant is that democracy prevailed.”
Sparked by the 2013 fatal stabbing of left-wing Greek rap singer Pavlos Fyssas, the trial wrapped four instances to a single: Fyssas’ murdering; bodily attacks against Egyptian sailors in 2012 and on left-handed activists in 2013; and if Golden Dawn was working as a criminal association.
The court ruled the 18 former party lawmakers on seven, such as party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, were accountable for directing a criminal association. Another 11 were deemed accountable for engaging in a criminal association, a charge that carries a possible sentence of five to ten decades.
Others — none of these former lawmakers — were condemned as accomplices.
Reacting to the verdict Thursday, Michaloliakos tweeted “they detained us for our thoughts.”
“If the illegal immigrants will be most in Greece, once they concede sea and land into Turkey when countless Greeks are jobless in the roads, then they will recall Golden Dawn,” he explained in a tweet also posted on the party’s site.
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutor Adamantia Economou contended that mitigating conditions might be recognized for people found guilty of membership of a criminal association but not for different offenses.
Not one of the 18 former lawmakers, who had served the highest 18 weeks in pre-trial detention at the onset of the trial, was in court Wednesday.
In the event, the judges impose terms which aren’t suspended or not postponed pending appeal, subsequent requests to the arrest of those sentenced could be issued.
Among those prior lawmakers,” Ioannis Lagos, is now a member of the European Parliament and resides in Brussels. Therefore, he enjoys resistance that could take a very long process to be raised.
In an internet video article in the European Parliament, Lagos pledged to fight a legal battle to show the trial of Golden Dawn members were unjust, describing it as politically motivated. However, he added he was prepared to give himself up if asked.