Wanted Golden Dawn MP surrenders to Greek police
A Greek lawmaker sought by police has surrendered, bringing to six the number of legislators from the extreme-right Golden Dawn party now in custody and facing criminal charges.
Christos Pappas - described by prosecutors as the Golden Dawn's No 2 official - was formally charged on Sunday with membership in a criminal organisation with intent to commit crimes, like his five fellow legislators, including Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos.
Another 14 Golden Dawn members and two police officers have been arrested and charged with the same crimes. A further 10 suspects, for whom arrest warrants were issued on Saturday, are still at large, officials said.
The crackdown on the fiercely anti-immigrant party marks the first time since 1974 that sitting members of a Greek parliament have been arrested. The arrests underline the government's efforts to stifle Golden Dawn, which has been increasingly on the defensive since the September 17 fatal stabbing of a Greek man blamed on a Golden Dawn supporter.
As he turned himself in at police headquarters in Athens, Pappas condemned the crackdown. Several Greek TV channels broadcast his arrival live.
"I present myself voluntarily. I have nothing to hide, nothing to fear. The occupation government of the bailout deals has begun unprecedented political persecutions, using so-called independent justice. Nationalism will prevail. Golden Dawn will survive," he said.
Pappas then shouted "Hail Golden Dawn!" and waved as he entered the building.
The five other legislators from the party, which has neo-Nazi roots, have been in custody since Saturday. Court hearings before a magistrate are scheduled today and tomorrow. Pappas, who appeared in court late on Sunday, was given until Thursday to prepare his deposition.
The government said it planned yesterday to introduce legislation aimed at cutting all state funding to Golden Dawn, which had been expected to receive more than €873,000 (HK$9.1 million) this year.