ATHENS, Greece — A prosecutor handling the criminal investigation of Greece’s Nazi-inspired, far-right Golden Dawn party on Thursday sought to have 70 party members, including the jailed party leader and all 17 of its other elected members of parliament, stand trial on charges ranging from running a criminal organization to murder and weapons offenses.
In a 700-page document, prosecutor Isidoros Doyiakos describes Golden Dawn as a strictly hierarchical criminal organization that aimed “to propagate and impose its political beliefs and theories through violence.”
Doyiakos added that the party sought to “violently confront foreigners, dissidents and anybody else it considered as a serious ideological opponent.”
Once marginal, the unabashedly nationalistic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic Golden Dawn erupted onto Greece’s political scene in recent years targeting voters disaffected by the country’s acute financial crisis and a wave of uncontrolled illegal immigration.
It won 18 of Parliament’s 300 seats in 2012, and is currently polling fourth, amid political uncertainty generated by the prospect that Greece may be forced to hold early elections in March.
A three-member panel of judges is expected to issue final indictments within weeks. If it upholds Doyiakos’ recommendations, Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and the party’s 15 other lawmakers, as well as two more that have left the party, face a maximum 20-year prison sentence should they be convicted.
Michaloliakos and another eight party lawmakers are in pre-trial detention. All the suspects have denied any wrongdoing.
Doyiakos also recommended that another 13 initial suspects should be cleared of any charges.
The crackdown on Golden Dawn followed the 2013 fatal stabbing of a left-wing musician, over which Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias has been charged and is included in the proposed indictment.
Roupakias has denied the charges, and claimed he had little connection with Golden Dawn, which has also greatly distanced itself from him.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.