Greece`s far-right party leader to be put in jail

Last Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 20:25

Athens: Greece`s extreme-right Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, who was arrested last Saturday, was Thursday due to be transferred to the country`s main prison complex Korydallos by sunset.

Michaloliakos is being transferred to prison even as the investigation into the circumstances of the September 18 murder of an anti-fascist activist by a party member and other criminal acts continues, Xinhua reported.

The Golden Dawn leader, while testifying before an investigating judge Wednesday night, dismissed the charges of formation and operation of a criminal organisation as politically motivated.

All four party deputies who had appeared in court earlier this week, as well as the party`s number two who was testifying Thursday noon, held the same stance.

Three of the defendants were released Wednesday pending trial.

Michaloliakos was remanded in custody along with MP Yannis Lagos, the head of Golden Dawn`s party at the Piraeus district where the killing took place.

The Golden Dawn`s leadership is accused of orchestrating a long series of violent attacks against political opponents and migrants in recent years.

The killing of Pavlos Fyssas triggered strong reactions nationwide, leading to the ongoing crackdown.

According to judicial sources, Michaloliakos claimed Wednesday that he as well as all members of Golden Dawn did not support violence.

According to the same sources, incriminating evidence gathered since his arrest last Saturday in the context of a wide crackdown on the party, indicate otherwise.

In a press release Thursday, Golden Dawn argued that his detention "has been dictated by foreign power centres".

Meanwhile, police investigation continues, leading to further arrests.

A female Golden Dawn member, who had run for parliament in last year`s general elections, was apprehended Thursday for a racist attack and illegal possession of weapons.

Since Saturday more than two dozen party members have been arrested.

The Golden Dawn party currently holds 18 seats in Greece`s parliament. It entered the 300-member parliament for the first time in the 2012 general polls, riding on a wave of anger and frustration at the harsh austerity implemented to tackle a severe debt crisis, by garnering seven percent of the votes.

After the Sep 18 murder, Golden Dawn`s popularity sank amidst mounting calls for an end to neo-Nazi violence and a ban on the party.

IANS



First Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 20:25

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