The verdict was received with applause in the courtroom, but also with shouts of joy and tear gas in front of the court.
Nikos Michaloliakos, 62 – a Holocaust denier and an admirer of National Socialism – is one of 68 indicted in the Golden Dawn (neo-Nazi) party trial involved in a murder and two counts. murder, AFP reports.
Zorii Aurii was accused mainly of killing an anti-fascist rapper. A left-wing activist, rapper Pavlos Fyssas was killed with a knife on the night of September 18, 2013, at the age of 34. His killer is Yorgos Roupakias, member of the Golden Dawn.
Two other cases involve attempted killings: against Egyptian fishermen on June 12, 2012 and against members of the communist trade union PAME on September 12, 2013.
Following these cases, the court ruled that Nikos Michaloliakos leads a “criminal organization.”
The decision comes after five years of hearings involving more than 400 statements from 150 witnesses.
Several unions and left-wing groups gathered in front of the court on Wednesday under the slogan “The people want the Nazis in prison.” Law enforcement surrounded the building.
“Today Greece is sending a message to the whole world: stop this deadly ideology,” a Panagiotis Kapelanos protester told AFP.
Founded in 1993, the Golden Dawn party entered parliament only in 2012, at the end of a campaign dominated by the financial crisis that had affected Greece two years earlier. At that time, groups of men dressed in black roamed the streets of Athens and quarreled with their opponents, shouting “Blood, honor, Golden Dawn.” In the 2019 elections, Michaloliakos’ party did not cross the electoral threshold for entering Parliament.
“The impact of the verdict on this iconic trial will go beyond the borders of Greece,” said Niels Muiznieks, Amnesty International Europe’s director.