Greece: Golden Dawn found guilty of running criminal organisation

The Golden Dawn group, a self-proclaimed fascist entity with its origins in the 1980s, has been found guilty of several crimes by a court in Athens, including running a criminal organisation.

As well as running a criminal organisation, another case involved Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias who has confessed to murdering anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, or “Killah P”, stabbing the 34-year-old to death just after midnight on September 18, 2013, in Athens. Roupakias was found guilty and faces a life sentence.

Pavlos Fyssas’s mother Magda, who has fought tirelessly for justice to be delivered, said after the verdict: “Pavlos did it. He did it. My son!”

A panel of three judges at a court of appeals in the Greek capital delivered their verdict on Wednesday, concluding a trial that has lasted five and a half years.

More than 10,000 anti-racism protesters outside the court, who had been demanding a guilty verdict for hours before the result was announced, celebrated when the judges revealed their decision.

But police were quick to release tear gas and use water cannon to disperse crowds. Witnesses said people were seen gasping as the tear gas filled the air.

Petros Konstantinou, who heads Keefra, an anti-racism organisation, told Al Jazeera: “This is a great anti-fascist victory. I think we won. They should all go to prison immediately.”

A total 68 had been on trial, including the entire Golden Dawn leadership, accused of four crimes.

Reading out the verdict, presiding judge Maria Lepenioti said Golden Dawn founder and leader Nikos Michaloliakos and other senior members were guilty of running a criminal organisation.

None of the party’s senior members was present in the court.

Michaloliakos and fellow senior members face jail sentences from five to 15 years.

Golden Dawn members were also found guilty of attacking Communist trade unionists and their leader Sotiris Poulikogiannis the same month and in the attempted murder of Egyptian immigrant fisherman Abouzid Embarak in his home in June 2012.

With reporting by Katy Fallon in Athens.

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