Greek Court Rules Far-Right Golden Dawn Party Is Criminal Organization

A Greek court issued a landmark ruling Wednesday that the far-right political party, Golden Dawn, is a criminal organization.Golden Dawn first won seats in parliament in 2012 and became the third-largest party during the country’s crippling debt crisis as it gained supporters with an anti-immigrant and an anti-austerity agenda.Prosecutors began investigating and arresting party leaders over a series of crimes after a supporter was arrested in 2013 for killing musician and rapper Pavlos Fyssas, who was aligned with the political left.Just before Wednesday’s ruling, the appeals court in Athens convicted Golden Dawn supporter Yiorgos Roupakias of Fyssas’ murder.Magda Fyssa, mother of anti-racist Greek rapper Pavlos Fyssas, who was killed in 2013 by Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias, reacts after a trial of leaders and members of the far-right Golden Dawn party, in Athens, Greece, Oct. 7, 2020.The trial into whether Golden Dawn was a criminal organization began in 2015. The party said at the time it was the target of a politically motivated witch hunt.Prosecutors charged 65 people that included 18 former Golden Dawn legislators with being members of a criminal organization.Dozens of other party members and alleged associates are facing charges ranging from murder to perjury in connection with a series of attacks on immigrants and left-wing activists.FILE – Leader of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party Nikos Mihaloliakos testifies during the trial of members and leaders of the party in a Court in Athens, Greece, Nov. 6, 2019.The courtroom erupted in cheers after Wednesday’s ruling, as did thousands of others outside the court. But the situation deteriorated outside when isolated groups of self-styled anarchists hurled Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with tear gas and a water cannon.Amnesty International, which helped establish a system to record racially motivated violence in the country, said the ruling could enhance efforts to fight hate crimes.The Golden Dawn party did not win a single seat in last year’s parliamentary election that the conservative New Democracy party won by a landslide. 

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