NEWS

Golden Dawn leader jailed ahead of Greek criminal trial

Nikos Michaloliakos is first elected political head to be held since end of military rule, on charges of using party to run crime gang

Helena Smith in Athens
theguardian.com, Thursday 3 October 2013

michaloliakos

In a move not seen since the collapse of military rule, the leader ofGreece‘s far-right Golden Dawn party has been jailed pending trial on charges that he used the organisation to operate a criminal gang that sowed terror on the streets of the country.

Emerging from Athens’ court complex at 4.30am on Thursday to cries of “be strong chief”, Nikos Michaloliakos was led away in handcuffs under armed guard to a Jeep that took him to the city’s police headquarters. From there he will be transferred to prison, the first elected political head to be incarcerated in almost 40 years.

The politician, who denies the allegations, testified before an investigating magistrate for more than six hours. His wife, who is expected to replace him as head of the party, and his daughter, a senior Golden Dawn cadre, shouted words of encouragement as he was brought out ashen-faced.

In a statement released soon after, the neo-fascist party denounced the crackdown on the movement, which has seen its most prominent MPs rounded up and arrested.

“The most wretched plot in modern Greek history is currently under way against Golden Dawn,” it said. “The detention of our general secretary is totally unjust, unconstitutional and has been dictated by foreign centres of power.”

Michaloliakos was brought to Athens’ court complex on Wednesday evening as followers cheered on the man accused of being the pre-eminent face of neo-nazism in Europe. “Blood, honour, Chrysi Avgi [Golden Dawn],” they screamed as the squat, grey-haired politician was led under armed guard into the building…

(Read the full report on the Guardian’s website: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/03/golden-dawn-leader-jailed-nikos-michaloliakos)

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