Golden Dawn leader convicted, neo-Nazi guilty of murder of Greek rapper | Abroad | News

AFP Some of the defendants listen to the judge’s verdict in Athens.

In Greece, the leader of the far-right Golden Dawn party has been found guilty of running a criminal organization. Party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos, former parliamentarians and police officers are on trial for membership of a criminal organization behind a political facade. They can receive up to 15 years in prison. The large-scale process started five years ago.

Thousands of people had come to court in Athens, calling for severe punishment. This resulted in riots in which the police deployed tear gas and a water cannon.

A total of 68 (former) politicians and other members of Gouden Dageraad are on trial. The charges range from attempted murder, illegal possession of weapons to violence against rivals. The trial began in 2015. It took 453 court hearings to legally unravel the network. The defendants say they regard the allegations as political intimidation.

The party peaked in 2012 when Golden Dawn got 12 percent of the vote in elections, becoming Greece’s third party. When in 2013 an anti-fascist rapper, Pavlos Fyssas, was stabbed to death by a party member, it became clear that Golden Dawn had links to the criminal circuit.

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