A Greek court ruled on Wednesday that the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party (GD) which had two representatives elected into Parliament from 2012 to 2019 operated as a criminal organization, systematically attacking migrants and leftists.
The leader of GD, Nikos Michaloliakos, and six former MPs were found guilty of running a criminal organization on Wednesday. The group included Christos Pappas, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, Ilias Panagiotaros, Ilias Kasidiaris, Yiannis Lagos and Giorgos Germenis.
The other former MPs on trial, as well as the two GD cadres Giorgos Patelis and Anastasios Pantazis, were found guilty of joining and participating in a criminal organization.
The landmark decision was announced by presiding judge Maria Lepeniotou as thousands defied the coronavirus bans on assembling in public and gathered outside the court complex on Alexandras Avenue to demand that GD be punished.
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Based on the charges, GD was a criminal organization that took on the legal form of a party and enjoyed enhanced constitutional protection as a result.
The court will be announcing sentencing separately for the 68 defendants, including the party’s political leadership.
The accusations were vigorously denied during the trial. Only Giorgos Roupakias, a GD operative, has confessed to the stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, a popular anti-fascist rapper whose death triggered the group’s unraveling.
Roupakias and 13 other GD operatives were found guilty of the murder.
All the five who had been charged in an attack on Egyptian fisherman were also found guilty.
Following the announcement of the verdict some demonstrators clashed with police outside the court complex. Police fired teargas into the crowds.