Athens: Leaders of Greece’s fascist Golden Dawn party leaders- including former MPs- were given a sentence of 13 years in prison by Presiding judge Maria Lepenioti.
This included leader Nikos Mihaloliakos, a 62-year-old politician and Holocaust denier. Six other prominent former MPs were also found guilty. The Court also gave a life sentence to one member, Yiorgos Roupakias, who murdered anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas. He also received an additional 10 years for membership.
Rise and fall of the Golden Dawn
Nikolaos Michaloliakos started creating Golden Dawn in the 1980s. At the time it was a journal that published articles pushing a return to the right-wing military dictatorship in Greece. The party rose into prominence in 2012, where it was able to mobilise anger towards the severe austerity measures placed on the country after their debt crisis from 2008-2010 in their favour, specifically through a racist, anti-immigrant campaign. The Golden Dawn won 7% of the popular vote and was able to enter the parliament with 21 seats. After a second election is the same year, their seats were reduced to 17, but the party remained the third-largest party in parliament.
Following an investigation on the murder of Pavlos Fyssas in 2013, several Golden Dawn MPs were arrested and detained. When the trial began in 2015, they were one of the most popular parties, but had a steep fall from grace and lost all seats in the 2019 legislative election.
For many years, the Golden Dawn rejected the labels “neo-nazi”, fascist and rejected claims of racism. However, on October 7th, 2020, the Athens Appeals Court ruled them as a criminal organisation that systematically attacks migrants and leftists. The court also announced verdicts for 68 accused, and charged 6 MPs with running a criminal organisation, while others were charged with murder, attempted murder or violent battery. Police also found unlicensed weapons and Nazi flags in the party members’ homes.
The court will decide if any sentences can be suspended later this week.
“pavlos you did it”
When the verdict was announced last week, deeming Golden Dawn a criminal organisation, the late rapper’s mother Magda shouted, “Pavlos (Crown of Greece) you did it!” She attended most of the 453 sessions of the hearing.
“The court has simply upheld the recommendation made yesterday by the prosecutor. It hasn’t lightened them nor made them any heavier, except in the case of the killer (Roupakias),”