Greece prosecutor seeks trial for 70 Golden Dawn members
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
This is a June 28, 2012 file photo of extreme right Golden Dawn party leader Nikos Mihaloliakos, right, as he speaks with the party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris during the swearing-in ceremony in Athens. AP PhotoA Greek public prosecutor has recommended that 70 members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn movement, including 18 deputies elected to the country's parliament in 2012, stand trial, according to a legal source.
Prosecutor Isidoris Dogiakos outlined the order in a 700-page legal document on Oct. 16, which listed the group's criminal activities including the high-profile murder of anti-facist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, attacks on members of the communist party, and immigrant Pakistani workers in Crete.
Among those who Dogiakos recommends to face trial is the Golden Dawn leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, who was arrested after the killing of Fyssas in September 2013 and has been held in jail ever since.
Dogiakos's year-long investigation began after the murder of Fyssas, a crime which shocked Greece and forced authorities to crack down on Golden Dawn after years of mounting concern about the party's actions.
Members of the fiercely anti-immigrant party were known to patrol the streets, carrying out attacks on foreigners, but had rarely faced action from the authorities.
Founded in the 1980s, the openly xenophobic and anti-Semitic Golden Dawn was for years a semi-clandestine group on the fringes of Greek politics.
But in 2012 the party exploited widespread anger over immigration and austerity reforms prompted by Greece's financial crisis to take 18 seats in parliament.
Dogiakos, in his document, said that a political party which seeks to "achieve its objectives through the use of physical force or weapons is not legal".
The prosecutor's findings will now be studied by a panel of three judges and a decision is expected within the next two months.
Any subsequent trial could begin next year, according to legal sources.
On Thursday, Greece's justice minister Haralambos Athanasiou said "those who will be judged will receive a fair trial," amid claims by Golden Dawn supporters that the legal crackdown is politically motivated.