Greek neo-Nazi MPs to face criminal charges: Court source

Greek neo-Nazi MPs to face criminal charges: Court source

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greek neo-Nazi MPs to face criminal charges: Court source

Far-right Golden Dawn party leader Nikos Mihaloliakos (C) is escorted by anti-terrorism police officers as he leaves the Greek police headquarters in Athens September 28, 2013. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Five lawmakers of the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn including its founder Nikos Michaloliakos will face charges of belonging to a criminal organization, a court source said Saturday.

The five, who were arrested Saturday along with 15 other Golden Dawn members in a massive police sweep, will remain in custody until their appearance before a magistrate, the source said. Several of those held, including party leader Michaloliakos, will also face charges of possession of illegal arms.
Police swooped on Michaloliakos and his deputies 10 days after the murder of an anti-fascist musician, allegedly by a member of the Golden Dawn party, an act that shocked Greece and made headlines around the world.
The Greek government coalition has been repeatedly accused of being too lenient with the neo-Nazis, but the arrests show its ability to act on a social issue even at a time of protracted economic crisis.
The image of a handcuffed Michaloliakos, 56, being led away was all over Greek television.
According to one court source, the investigations carried out over the past week by the Greek supreme court have enabled the charges to be brought and for Golden Dawn to be identified as a "criminal organization".

Michaloliakos is a disgraced former officer cadet and devotee of Greek dictator George Papadopoulos, with whom he spent time in prison in the late 1970s for an assault and bombing attack.

Golden Dawn entered parliament in June 2012 and has 18 deputies in the house.