The Member of the European Parliament (MEP) was convicted for being a leader of the criminal organization Golden Dawn, which has been found responsible for multiple violent crimes, including the murder of Greek rapper Pavlos Fyssas.
Who is MEP Ioannis Lagos?
Lagos has served for a number of years as a member of the Hellenic Parliament for the criminal gang and neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn between 2012 and 2019.
He was elected to the European Parliament on the party’s ticket before announcing that he would sit as an independent a few days after being sworn in as an MEP on July 2, 2019. He and other former Golden Dawn MPs and members founded a splinter party on November 9, 2019.
In January 2020, Lagos tore down the flag of Turkey during a speech at the European Parliament on illegal migration, accusing Turkey of sending illegal immigrants to Greece. The action received criticism from Turkish and Greek officials, including Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu[, and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He was later penalized by the European Parliament for his actions.
Why is Golden Dawn a criminal organization?
Eighteen former Golden Dawn lawmakers and a total of 50 members of the neo-Nazi party were found guilty in October 2020 in the largest trial of a far-right organization since Nuremberg, after WWII.
Thirty-eight of those men were sentenced to serve prison time.
Lagos and the other leaders of the party have each been sentenced to 13 years in prison. This sentence was upheld by a Greek court last October, as it overruled an earlier recommendation by the public prosecutor that the sentences should be suspended pending appeal.
Suspended sentences were issued for only 12 of the 50 total defendants found guilty of belonging to the criminal organization. Among these were former MPs Michail Arvanitis, Eleni Zaroulia, Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos, Stathis Boukouras and Dimitris Koukoutsis.
The defendants were involved in multiple crimes committed by the party, which had two representatives elected into the Greek Parliament from 2012 to 2019.
The party was subsequently ruled a criminal organization that systematically attacked innocent refugees, migrants, and people of the left-wing ideology, among others. One of the most well-known crimes committed by Golden Dawn was the 2013 lethal stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, a popular anti-fascist rapper whose death triggered the group’s unraveling.
Members of the organization were also found guilty of an attack on an Egyptian fisherman during the same court proceedings.
Prior to the party being ruled a criminal organization, Lagos had already received an eight-month suspended sentence in 2019 for instigating an attack on a community center and its director, Panagiotis Drimilis, in Athens. The assault was perpetrated by a gang of twenty Golden Dawn members.
Another leading member of the former party, Christos Pappas, remains on the lam after his conviction.
The majority of the other party leaders have who have been sentenced to prison were sent to Domokos Prison, although it is unclear at present where Lagos will be serving his time.