Skip to main content

Greece: Golden Dawn party leader Nikos Michaloliakos in custody

By Elinda Labropoulou, for CNN
October 3, 2013 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police hold Nikos Michaloliakos after court appearance
  • Michaloliakos, the Golden Dawn party leader, is accused of forming a criminal gang
  • Three other Golden Dawn lawmakers are free pending trial; one remains in custody
  • They were arrested in a police crackdown after the killing of an anti-fascist musician

Athens (CNN) -- The leader of Greece's extreme-right Golden Dawn party, Nikos Michaloliakos, is being held in custody after appearing in court Wednesday, the state-run Athens News Agency reported.

Michaloliakos is being held at Athens Police headquarters until it's decided which jail will house him, the agency reported.

He gave a deposition to a Greek court on Wednesday that lasted until the early hours of Thursday morning in Athens, it said. He faces charges of running a criminal organization following the slaying of an anti-fascist musician last month.

There was a heavy police presence outside the court in Athens ahead of Michaloliakos' appearance.

Three other Golden Dawn lawmakers who have already appeared in court -- Elias Kassidiaris, Elias Panagiotaros and Nikos Mihos -- were released Wednesday pending trial. A fourth, Ioannis Lagos, remains in custody.

The arrests of the lawmakers, along with those of a number of party supporters, were part of a weekend police crackdown that followed a controversial stabbing death.

Far-right Greek politicians arrested
Blaming immigrants for Greece's woes
Rise of the Greek far-right

It is the first time since the restoration of democracy in 1974, after a seven-year junta, that a party leader and members of Parliament have been arrested.

Pavlos Fyssas, a popular anti-fascist figure and well-known hip-hop artist with the stage name Killah P, was the victim of a knife attack that was allegedly committed by a Golden Dawn supporter.

Kassidiaris denied his party's involvement in Fyssas' death, calling it a "heinous crime."

The singer's death has nevertheless led to renewed calls to ban Golden Dawn, which holds 18 of Parliament's 300 seats.

The Greek constitution does not allow for political parties to be banned, however, and the arrested lawmakers will retain their parliamentary seats unless they are convicted of a crime.

In 2012, Golden Dawn rode a wave of dissatisfaction among some Greeks -- spurred by internationally imposed austerity measures amid the country's deep financial crisis -- to win 7% of the vote and gain seats in Parliament for the first time.

The ultranationalist, anti-immigration party has been linked by critics to street violence and neo-Nazism.

CNN's Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT