Greek Court overturns early release of Golden Dawn Leader despite poor health

Image: Giannis Papanikos/Zuma Press/picture alliance

The founder of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party, Nikos Michaloliakos, has been ordered back to prison after an appeals court controversially overturned a decision to release him on parole.

  • Michaloliakos was released last month after a panel of judges approved his request, taking into account the time he had already served and his health condition.
  • Authorities report that Michaloliakos, who was recently hospitalized for a short period, has been residing at his home in Athens since Wednesday.

Details of the Decision: On Monday, the judicial council of the court of appeals decided that Michaloliakos, who was granted early release on May 2, was “unrepentant” and should not have his sentence shortened.

  • The 66-year-old was sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison in 2020 for heading a “criminal organization” alongside dozens of Golden Dawn members.
  • During the five-year trial started in 2015, Golden Dawn members were accused of assaulting immigrant fishermen and communist trade unionists, being involved in the disappearance of over 100 migrants, and committing the 2013 murders of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas and Pakistani migrant Shehzad Luqman.

Why it matters: Similar lawfare has been used on other right-wing European nationalist parties.

  • The People’s Party Our Slovakia, L’SNS, was Slovakia’s fourth largest party, winning 7.97% of the vote in the 2020 parliamentary elections.
  • Its leader, Marian Kotleba, was sentenced to four years and four months in jail in 2020 for “spreading hate” by distributing checks to poor families for 1,488 euros. This sentence was later overturned in 2022 and reduced to a six-month suspended sentence.
  • However, the damage was already done, part of the party split to form Republika, and Slovakia’s prosecutor general did not attempt to dissolve L’SNS in 2022 because it was “not a serious threat to democracy.”

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