Greek neo-Nazi Christos Pappas, who was number two in the Golden Dawn party leadership, is still at large, successfully evading arrest almost three months after his conviction.
Following the October 2020 verdict deeming the Golden Dawn party a criminal organization, Pappas was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in the group.
Although police had put the party’s leadership under surveillance before the historic verdict, Pappas somehow was able to disappear.
He last checked in with his local police station in the northern Athens suburb of Papagou on October 1, as he was obliged to do, but has not been seen since.
His whereabouts are still unknown, raising speculation that he may have escaped abroad or that he is hiding in some remote part of Greece — and protected by loyal followers.
Pappas in Greek Parliament
Pappas served in the Greek Parliament from 2012 until 2019, being elected three times. In the last election in Greece on July 7, 2019, Golden Dawn did not garner enough votes to make it into the House.
Pappas is the son of Elias Pappas, an Army officer and a collaborator with the Colonels Junta. His father was also a founding member of the Golden Dawn extreme rightist party.
A devout nationalist, Christos Pappas was the founder of Helioforos Publications, publishing books with a nationalist content. He became a close associate of Golden Dawn’s chief Nikos Michaloliakos.
On September 29, 2013, he was remanded into custody on charges of directing a criminal organization, following the murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a Golden Dawn member.
In December of the same year, his application for release from prison was rejected. He was released on March 29, 2015, just eighteen months after his arrest.
In a search in Pappas’ house in East Ioannina in September of 2013, the police anti-terrorist unit found two unlicensed weapons and a wide range of Nazi memorabilia.
Among other things, the anti-terrorist unit found a picture of Pappas in an SS uniform making a Nazi salute in front of a Nazi flag, while in another picture he is wearing a swastika armband.
Another series of photos show Pappas with his family saluting like Nazis, teaching his three children the Nazi salute, while greeting cards to be given out by him and his wife also bear the swastika.
Another find was two World War II German helmets, one with the SS logo and the other with the swastika, small and large swastika flags, a framed picture of Adolf Hitler with the inscription “Golden Dawn,” and other items.
However, throughout police interviews, Pappas rejected all Neo-Nazi accusations, insisting that he is a Greek nationalist and has nothing to do with Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.
Police search for Greek Neo-Nazi fugitive
Police have launched a series of targeted actions in trying to locate the missing former deputy of the Golden Dawn party, investigating the network of his accomplices that he might have used in the escape.
Higher-up police officials speak of a well-organized plan for the disappearance and hiding of the former MP which was put in motion on October 1, 2020 — immediately after he presented himself at the Papagou Police Department, as required.
In order not to cause suspicion and mislead the police, the fugitive is said to have left his mobile phone at home and then, with plenty of time to do so, he simply vanished.
Police are searching in certain areas not only in Greece, but also abroad, in the nations of Belgium, France and Austria. At the same time, all telephones which can possibly be connected with Pappas are continually monitored.
Leftist opposition accuses police of suspicious negligence
Since the disappearance of Christos Pappas, leftist opposition parties have accused the Greek police — and Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis himself — of deliberate negligence.
In December, 37 MPs from the main opposition Syriza party brought forth an official petition in Parliament, asking for a reason why Pappas was not arrested immediately after the court verdict.
“Despite the police assurance for readiness and monitoring of the convicted members of the criminal organization… the fact of the disappearance of Nazi Pappas remains a sad reality, 50 days after the verdict,” the petition said.
At the same time, several editorials in opposition-friendly media imply that a great percentage of Greek police are partial to Golden Dawn, and therefore they are not eager to arrest Pappas.
Neo-Nazi MEP Lagos still enjoying Parliamentary immunity
Former Golden Dawn leader and Member of the European Parliament Ioannis Lagos has been able to avoid arrest so far since he is currently in Brussels enjoying the complete Parliamentary immunity that his position affords him.
Lagos left the neo-Nazi party in July of 2019, claiming disagreement with certain political moves of the group. He is currently an independent member of the European Parliament.
In order for Lagos to be arrested in Brussels, the European Parliament must waive his immunity. The Greek authorities must request also the waiver of his immunity and issue a warrant for his arrest.