A five-and-a-half-year trial of the far-right Golden Dawn political group has officially come to a close, with a guilty verdict being dealt to party member executives for joining a criminal organisation.
Specifically, Nikos Michaloliakos, Elias Kasidiari, Giannis Lagos, George Germenis, Christos Pappas, Elias Panagiotaros and Artemis Mattheopoulos were all found guilty.
Also part of the trial, Giorgos Roupakias was found guilty of all charges related to the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, along with the other 17 defendants facing charges related to the musician’s murder.
All the accused for the attack against PAME have also been found guilty.
Athens comes to a standstill
Thousands of people gathered outside a courthouse in Athens shouting slogans calling for the defendants to be jailed. Hundreds of police were also deployed at the courthouse, a few kilometres from the historic centre of the capital.
Cheers erupted from the streets following the guilty verdict announcement as prepared molotov cocktails were allegedly laid to rest.
Sixty-eight people associated with Golden Dawn, including the party’s entire leadership, were faced with charges of operating a criminal organisation while at the same time posing as a political group. Police officers who allegedly supported the far-right party are among those on trial.
“They are not innocent, they must go to jail, they must be convicted,” said a 69-year old demonstrator outside the court who gave her name as Sophia to Reuters.
“We must send a message to the younger generations, a message against fascism,” she said.
The prosecutions were sparked by the late-night murder of a 34-year-old anti-fascist rapper called Pavlos Fyssas, who was chased down by a mob of Golden Dawn thugs and stabbed to death in front of a cafe in the western Athens suburb of Keratsini in September 2013.
MPs who represented the xenophobic bloc until its electoral defeat in July 2019 are also accused of attempted murder, possession of weapons and employing violence to eradicate perceived enemies.
The accusations were vigorously denied by the party.
Over 100 Greek Australians released a statement against Golden Dawn ahead of the trial verdict yesterday, saying a guilty verdict on all charges would, “ensure and protect the democratic values of Greece the country of our forbearers.”
“The intimidation of citizens, the undermining of democratic politics and institutions through violence and murder or through racist and extreme language, have no place in Greece,” the statement adds.