Prosecutor recommends suspended sentences for Golden Dawn

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The Greek prosecutor in the trial of criminal organisation, Golden Dawn, proposed that the jail sentences of up to 13 years imposed on its leaders last week should be suspended until their appeal has been heard.

Only Giorgos Roupakias, sentenced to life for the murder of musician Pavlos Fyssas, should be going to prison, according to the recommendations of prosecutor Adamantia Economou.

Ms Economou argued that none of the former lawmakers was a flight risk or at risk of re-offending while they remain out of jail, and said most had a clean criminal record until their current conviction.

She argued their sentences should be suspended, with conditions imposed, until the appeals process is completed. An appeal can take several years.

Presiding judge Maria Lepenioti , centre, and members of the court listens during the Golden Dawn trial, in Athens, Monday, October 19, 2020. Photo: AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris.

READ MORE: Neo-Nazi leaders of Greece’s Golden Dawn sentenced to 13 years.

“The immediate execution of the sentences will cause irreparable damage as the procedure to the appeals court will be a long one,” the prosecutor said.

“They have all the conditions for their sentences to be suspended with conditions. The accused have not tried to avoid their arrest.”

After summations by defense lawyers, the court ordered a break in proceedings until Tuesday morning. A final decision on whether the sentences will be suspended pending appeal is to be made by the panel of judges trying the case, potentially on Tuesday.

READ MORE: ‘Democracy has won’: Golden Dawn guilty verdict celebrated across Greece.

The lengthy sentencing procedure caps a marathon, politically charged five-year trial that involved 68 defendants, dozens of lawyers and encompassed four cases, including the 2013 fatal stabbing of left-wing Greek rap singer Pavlos Fyssas and physical attacks on Egyptian fishermen and left-wing activists.

Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and another five leading former lawmakers received 13-year prison sentences last week after being convicted of running the party like a criminal organisation. A sixth was sentenced to 10 years, while 11 other former lawmakers were convicted of participating in a criminal organisation and received sentences of between five and seven years.

READ MORE: Golden Dawn party members found guilty of running criminal organisation.

A general view of the court during a Golden Dawn trial, in Athens, Monday, October 19, 2020. Photo: AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris.

The lawmakers spent 18 months in jail when the trial first began, and were released due to the limit of pre-trial detention being reached.

A total of 57 party members and associates were convicted on October 7, mostly for involvement in violent attacks and participating in a criminal organisation.

Golden Dawn was founded as a neo-Nazi group in the 1980s and spent decades as a fringe party on the Greek political scene. But it rose to prominence during the country’s 2010-2018 financial crisis, winning parliamentary seats in four separate elections and becoming Greece’s third-largest political party.

Its popularity began to wane during the trial, and it failed to win any parliamentary seats in the 2019 general elections.

READ MORE: Over 100 Greek Australians release statement against Golden Dawn ahead of trial verdict.

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