The Greek parliament has lifted the immunity of three Golden Dawn lawmakers so they can be prosecuted for a number of offences, parliament officials said Oct. 24.
The vote on Oct. 23, allows investigators to probe Golden Dawn party spokesman Ilias Kassidiaris for complicity in an armed robbery in 2007. Panayiotis Iliopoulos and George Germenis, who are members of the same far-right party founded in the 1980’s, are suspected of abuse of office and destruction of property in attacks against immigrant traders in the Athens area last month.
Kassidiaris shot to notoriety last June when he slapped Liana Kanelli, MP of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and threw a glass of water in the face of Rena Dourou, MP of SYRIZA during a television debate ahead of national elections in which Golden Dawn won an unprecedented 18 seats. The party rose to prominence amid a period of severe social upheaval in Greece due to the country’s severe debt crisis. The parliament vote came on the same day the UN refugee agency joined hands with over 20 human rights groups and non-governmental organizations in urging Athens to oppose a surge in violence in Greece.
George Tsarbopoulos, who heads the UN High Commissioner for the Refugees’ Office in Greece, said the country’s authorities had officially spoken out against the threats posed by Golden Dawn, but that “in actual fact, nothing has changed”, with impunity remaining the rule.
In September, police opened a probe after Golden Dawn released a video of its activists in uniform checking the identity documents of immigrant traders before destroying their stalls and merchandise.)