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Release of Former Golden Dawn Chief Met With Anger in Greece

The release of the former chief of Nazi Golden Dawn Nikos Michaloliakos was met with angry reactions in Greece.

Michaloliakos who had been sentenced to 13 years and six months imprisonment for his leadership of the group was released on parole after a Lamia judicial council accepted his petition for early release with conditions.

Michaloliakos, a Holocaust denier and admirer of Adolf Hitler, was allowed to return to his home in Athens this week although his “conditional discharge” was only made public on Thursday.

The family of rap singer Pavlos Fyssas who was killed by a member of Golden Dawn in 2013 said the decision of a court council is a “great offense” to the victims of the now-defunct group, their families and “Greek society as a whole”.

“While the trial of the appeal court continues and the victims of Golden Dawn fight for their vindication, the ruling of the judicial council tests their tenacity,” the family said in a statement issued by their lawyers.

“It is puzzling how such an unrepentant neo-Nazi criminal […] whose Nazi ideology was the motive behind the criminal activities of Golden Dawn […] was deemed by the Greek justice system as not likely to commit new criminal acts,” it added and called on the public prosecutor’s office to block the Council’s ruling.

Greece’s opposition on the release of Golden Dawn Chief

Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Stefanos Kasselakis attacked the government over the release of Michaloliakos, before the completion of his sentence.

“Impunity in Tempi with an orgy of covering up. Impunity in Mati, with crimes that were dubbed misdemeanors. And now, impunity for the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn as well,” Kasselakis said in a social media post.

“From today, the criminal Michaloliakos is walking around free, after a provocative decision of Greek justice,” Kasselakis said, questioning the criteria by which the Lamia judicial council had reached its decision, even though the public prosecutor in charge had stressed that the prisoner was unrepentant and did not meet the fundamental requirements for early release.

“One thing is certain. The Mitsotakis government’s embrace of far-right elements, lawlessness, cover-ups and the attempt to manipulate justice has led to a complete dysregulation of the functioning of Greek justice,” Kasselakis said, pointing out that Mitsotakis was the prime minister on whose watch the leader of Golden Dawn was released.

Government responds

The government spokesman hit back at Kasselakis. The leader of the opposition “tried to use the release of the leader of the criminal ring organization Golden Dawn for political reasons,” Pavlos Marinakis said.

“The rulings are made by judges, not by governments and parties since powers are distinct in our democracy,” Marinakis said.

He added that if the Criminal Code amendments introduced by New Democracy governments could have been implemented in this case, Nikos Michaloliakos would not have been able to even apply for release. SYRIZA did not vote for the amendments ruling out the so-called party Golden Dawn from running in national elections.

The main opposition party “does not have a monopoly on democratic sensitivity and anti-fascist struggles,” Marinakis said, and “instead of wagging their finger with more hypocrisy, they should apologize for all of this.”

Source: Greek Reporter