Greece court declares Golden Dawn ran criminal operation

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Oct. 7 (UPI) — A Greek court on Wednesday convicted members of the Golden Dawn political party and ruled that the group ran an unlawful enterprise that regularly attacked migrants in the Mediterranean nation.

Judge Maria Lepeniotou found party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and several other members guilty of running a criminal organization. Golden Dawn is also known in Greece as Chrysi Avgi.

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Wednesday’s verdicts ended a five-year trial against the controversial ultra-right party.

The others convicted were Christos Pappas, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, Ilias Panagiotaros, Ilias Kasidiaris, Yiannis Lagos and Giorgos Germenis.

Former party lawmakers Giorgos Patelis and Anastasios Pantazis were found guilty of joining and participating in a criminal organization.

“This is a very good day for the anti-fascist movement globally,” Petros Constantinou, a prominent anti-racism activist, said. “The decision will send a very important message to the far right in Europe. A conviction today is vital if we are to end the fascist threat. The evidence against them is overwhelming.”

Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias was previously accused in the stabbing death of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas. Roupakias and 13 other Golden Dawn backers were found guilty in the death.

Nils Muiznieks, Europe director at Amnesty International, said before Wednesday’s verdict that the case could open a window into whether other nations have the legal power to take on neo-Nazi groups in Europe.

“The trial of Golden Dawn has been a serious test for the Greek criminal justice system and its ability to address the threat posed by a group that has used and advocated violence and discrimination,” Muiznieks said in a statement.

“The impact of this verdict, in what is an emblematic trial of an extreme far-right party with an aggressive anti-migrant and anti-human rights stance, will be felt far beyond Greece’s borders.”

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