Greece: Neo-Nazi boss released from custody awaiting trial
On Friday a Greek court decided to release Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the head of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, from custody. Greek media report that he has been transferred to house arrest.
The chair of the ultra-right party is now awaiting the beginning of his trial for criminal conspiracy. He spent 18 months in custody, the maximum possible time under Greek law.
The trial of Michaloliakos and another 71 members of the party will begin on 20 April. They face charges of membership in a criminal organization and if found guilty, face up to 20 years in prison.
In addition to the Golden Dawn chair, Greek MP Yannis Lagos was scheduled to be released from prison yesterday, and other party members will be released from custody in the coming weeks. Greek authorities began a dragnet against Golden Dawn in connection with the murder of a left-wing activist and popular singer, Pavlos Fysas, in September 2013.
The MPs told the court they are not responsible for the murder and have called the charges politically motivated, which in their view is related to the fact that Golden Dawn has started becoming more and more popular among Greeks. The party defended its political position in elections to the European Parliament last May, ending up in third place, just as it did during the previous three elections to the Greek Parliament.
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