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World Greece: Extreme right group faces verdict at criminal trial

19:20  06 october  2020
19:20  06 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police officials said Tuesday they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict.

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 file photo, supporters of Greece's extreme right Golden Dawn raise torches during a rally commemorating a 1996 military incident which cost the lives of three Greek navy officers and brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war, in Athens. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 file photo, supporters of Greece's extreme right Golden Dawn raise torches during a rally commemorating a 1996 military incident which cost the lives of three Greek navy officers and brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war, in Athens. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis, File)

Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday.

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Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos and other former parliament members face at least 10 years in prison if found guilty on charges of membership in a criminal organization. Dozens of others on trial, party members and alleged associates, face convictions on charges that range from murder to perjury — most linked to a spate of violent attacks in 2013 that included the fatal stabbing of Greek rap singer Pavlos Fyssas and attacks on immigrants and left-wing activists.

FILE - In this Thursday, May 17, 2012 file photo, members of parliament from the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party are seated before a swearing in ceremony at the Greek parliament in Athens. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, May 17, 2012 file photo, members of parliament from the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party are seated before a swearing in ceremony at the Greek parliament in Athens. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)

Golden Dawn grew from a minor organization to the third-largest political party in Greece’s parliament during a major financial crisis that started in 2009 and lasted nearly a decade, causing mass unemployment and poverty.

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FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 file photo, Nikos Michaloliakos, the leader of the extreme far-right Golden Dawn political party, delivers his speech during a pre-election rally, in Athens. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 file photo, Nikos Michaloliakos, the leader of the extreme far-right Golden Dawn political party, delivers his speech during a pre-election rally, in Athens. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

Though distancing itself from its pro-Nazi past while in parliament between 2012 and 2019, it maintained links with white supremacist groups in Europe and the United States.

In Athens, police are being deployed as a number of rallies against the group are planned for when the session begins Wednesday at a high court located a few hundred meters from the city’s police headquarters in a central area of the capital.

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FILE - In this Wednesday, June 4, 2014 file photo, Golden Dawn supporters hold the party flag and Greek national flags during a rally outside Parliament in Athens. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, June 4, 2014 file photo, Golden Dawn supporters hold the party flag and Greek national flags during a rally outside Parliament in Athens. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Golden Dawn operated as a paramilitary group, with orders handed down from the party leadership to neighborhood organizations, and onto assault groups which carried out frequent attacks on migrants that often led to serious injury.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019 file photo, the head of Greece's extreme far-right Golden Dawn party Nikos Michaloliakos testifies in the Court of Athens as part of a long-running trial over the party's activities in which he and several former party lawmakers are accused of running a criminal organization. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019 file photo, the head of Greece's extreme far-right Golden Dawn party Nikos Michaloliakos testifies in the Court of Athens as part of a long-running trial over the party's activities in which he and several former party lawmakers are accused of running a criminal organization. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

Attacks included raids on immigrants’ homes, street assaults and gangs boarding public buses to target dark-skinned passengers.

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The human rights group Amnesty International, which took part in and helped organize a network to record racist violence in Greece, said Wednesday’s verdict would boost the efforts of those trying to prosecute hate crimes.

“The accusations against the leaders and members of Golden Dawn, including the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, expose a fissure that exists not just within Greece but across Europe and beyond,” said Nils Muiznieks, Europe director at Amnesty.

“The impact of this verdict, in what is an emblematic trial of an extreme far-right party with an aggressive anti-migrant and anti-human rights stance, will be felt far beyond Greece’s borders.”

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 file photo, a woman stands in front of a monument of late Pavlos Fyssas, during an anti-fascist rally marking the death of the Greek rap singer three years ago, at Keratsini suburb, in Athens. Fyssas, was stabbed in the street, followed by the arrest of a supporter of the extreme right Golden Dawn party, triggering a crackdown on the party, that saw prominent members jailed on suspicion of criminal activity. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 file photo, a woman stands in front of a monument of late Pavlos Fyssas, during an anti-fascist rally marking the death of the Greek rap singer three years ago, at Keratsini suburb, in Athens. Fyssas, was stabbed in the street, followed by the arrest of a supporter of the extreme right Golden Dawn party, triggering a crackdown on the party, that saw prominent members jailed on suspicion of criminal activity. Greek police officials they are planning to deploy about 2,000 officers around Athens as the leadership of the extreme right group Golden Dawn faces a landmark criminal trial verdict. Eighteen former lawmakers from the party founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organization are among 69 defendants who have been on trial for the past five years. The verdict is expected Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis, File)

Golden Dawn denies any direct link to the attacks and described the trial and charges brought against the party’s leadership as an “unprecedented conspiracy” that was aimed at cutting short its rise in popularity.

“Unfortunately for (our adversaries), the court’s decision tomorrow is based on the criminal case and not a political one,” Golden Dawn said Tuesday.

“All supporters await an acquittal tomorrow, a decision that will trigger an even more strident nationalist campaign to take our country back.”

Labor unions, migrant associations, groups representing gay, lesbian and transgender people, and left-wing political parties have all announced their intention to attend rallies Wednesday. ___ Follow Gatopoulos at https://www.twitter.com/dgatopoulos

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usr: 1
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