ATHENS, Greece — Christos Pappas, a lawmaker for the extreme-right Golden Dawn party sought by Greek police, has surrendered to authorities.
Pappas, described by prosecutors as the Golden Dawn’s No. 2, turned himself in at police headquarters in Athens on Sunday.
Like five other Golden Dawn lawmakers now in custody, Pappas will be formally charged with membership in a criminal organization with intent to commit crimes, in an escalation of a government crackdown after a fatal stabbing blamed on a supporter.
This is the first time since 1974 that sitting members of a Greek Parliament have been arrested. The arrests underline the government’s efforts to stifle the neo-Nazi party, which has been increasingly on the defensive since the killing.
Several Greek TV channels broadcast his arrival at police headquarters live, showing him leaving a taxi, ducking under the cordon surrounding the building, and turning to the cameras.
“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.
Five other legislators from the party have been in custody there since Saturday, including Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos. They were formally charged with membership in a criminal organization with intent to commit crimes, and Pappas will be, too.
They are scheduled to appear before a magistrate on Tuesday. Given the seriousness of the charge they face, the arrested Golden Dawn suspects are expected to be transferred to a prison as they await trial. However, the jailed lawmakers will remain members of parliament and only lose their seats if they are convicted or resign.
The government said Sunday that it plans to introduce legislation on Monday aimed at cutting all state funding to the Golden Dawn party, which is slated to receive more than €873,000 ($1.18 million) in 2013.
Following the stabbing of the anti-fascist rapper known as Killah P by an alleged Golden Dawn supporter on September 18, Greece’s Jewish community has urged the Greek government to crack down on the party. In a statement released last week, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece implored the country’s politicians “to cooperate for the voting of a strong and effective legislation that will combat racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism.”