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Greece: Golden Dawn verdicts send 'clear message' on racism and hate speech

Golden Dawn's aggressive anti-immigrant stance has involved neo-fascist street violence and killings © Getty Images

Convictions for leaders and former MPs from anti-immigrant party welcomed

Tear gas used indiscriminately against crowds outside Athens court this morning

‘Today’s landmark ruling is a recognition of the systemic threat posed to our societies by a violent, racist group’ - Nils Muižnieks

Responding to a court in Athens convicting seven leaders of the Golden Dawn party of directing a criminal organisation - while convicting 11 other former Golden Dawn MPs of participating in a criminal organisation - Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said:

“This verdict sends a clear message to political groups with aggressive anti-migrant and anti-human rights agendas in Greece and across Europe that violent and racist criminal activity - whether perpetrated by individuals on the street or members of parliament - will not go unpunished.

“Today’s landmark ruling is a recognition of the systemic threat posed to our societies by a violent, racist group and a commitment that this threat must not be allowed to continue.

“This verdict is the first step to deliver justice for the victims of hate crimes and discriminatory attacks, and must serve as a stark reminder of the dangers of demonising and scapegoating entire populations. 

“We hope this judgement will mark a turning point to deter racist violence and hate crimes in the future.”

Murder of anti-fascist singer

Seven years after the murder of anti-fascist singer Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini, and five-and-a-half years after the beginning of the Golden Dawn trial, a three-member court in Athens issued today’s landmark verdict. The ruling found the seven members of Golden Dawn’s political council - including its leader Nikos Michaloliakos - guilty of directing a criminal organisation. The court also found 11 former Golden Dawn MPs guilty of participating in a criminal organisation 

The court also found Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias guilty of the murder of anti-fascist singer Pavlos Fyssas, and nine other defendants guilty of being accessories to murder. The court also found three defendants guilty of the attempted murder of Egyptian fisherman Abouzid Embarak, and four defendants guilty of grievous bodily harm against three members of the PAME trade union.

Tear gas outside court

Amnesty observers were present in the court today and witnessed riot police using tear gas indiscriminately against thousands of peaceful demonstrators gathered outside the Athens Appeals Court.

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