Greek neo-Nazi legislators indicted in crackdown
By John Hadoulis, AFPATHENS--Four lawmakers from Greece's Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party were charged Wednesday with belonging to a criminal organization as the authorities move to dismantle the group after the murder of an anti-fascist musician.
October 3, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
The indictments — the first ever against neo-Nazi MPs in Greece — were unveiled as Golden Dawn's leader was due to appear in court later Wednesday facing the same charge.
Three of those indicted Wednesday were released, a move seen as surprising given the gravity of the charges, but government officials stressed the political importance of the judicial action against them.
“Criminal charges have been filed ... this is just the first phase,” Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis told Skai TV.
“What is politically important is that Golden Dawn is characterized as a criminal organization,” the ruling party's parliament spokesman Makis Voridis told the station.
Golden Dawn was the country's third most popular party until the murder of anti-fascist hip-hop musician Pavlos Fyssas on Sept. 18 sparked nationwide protests and a government crackdown on the group long accused of attacking immigrants, charges that it denies.
The four lawmakers — Ilias Kasidiaris, Yiannis Lagos, Nikos Michos and Ilias Panagiotaros — were all indicted by magistrates on a charge of belonging to a criminal organization.
Lagos was placed in pre-trial detention, but the remaining three were conditionally released, a judicial source said.
Kassidiaris was ordered to pay 50,000 euros (US$68,000) in bail, and all three freed lawmakers were banned from leaving the country, the source said.
“Enjoy your democracy,” the lawmakers told reporters as they walked out of the court complex.