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Criminal Organization Golden Dawn is Behind Bars For Good

The Athens Appeals Court in session. Credit: AMNA

Judges at the Athens Appeals Court announced near maximum sentences under Greek law for the convicted leaders and members of the criminal organization Golden Dawn.
Leader Nikos Michaloliakos and five other leading members, including Christos Pappas, Ilias Kasidiaris, Ioannis Lagos, Giorgos Germenis, and Ilias Panagiotaros received 13 years in prison. Artemis Matthaiopoulos was given a slightly lower sentence of 10 years.
Shorter prison sentences of five to seven years were imposed on other members of the party accused only of being members of a criminal organization.
The presiding judge had earlier read out the sentence for the killer of Pavlos Fyssas, Giorgos Roupakias, handing down a life sentence for the murder and an additional 10 years for his membership in Golden Dawn, which has been ruled a criminal organization.
His accomplice in the killing was given eight years.
The heads of the local dawn chapters in Perama and Nikaia, Anastasios Pantazis and Giorgos Patelis, respectively, were sentenced to eight and six years. Ioannis Kazantzoglou was sentenced to eight and six years. The highest sentence for those accused only of joining a criminal organization – seven years – was given to Nikolaos Apostolou, who recruited Roupakias.
After announcing the sentences, the court must then decide whether these will be suspended pending appeal or whether the accused will be sent straight to prison.
Prosecutors had argued that Michaloliakos ran his party under a military-style hierarchy modeled on Hitler’s Nazi party, with himself as a leader for more than 30 years.
Tapping into anti-austerity and anti-migrant anger during Greece’s 10-year-long debt crisis, Golden Dawn for a time was the third most popular party in the country.
The party was in Parliament from 2012 onwards, with its lawmakers repeatedly shocking the chamber with provocative and aggressive behavior. However, it failed to win a single seat in last year’s parliamentary election.

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