After years of violence at the hands of Golden Dawn, the Neo-Nazi organisation was finally labelled a criminal enterprise by the Athens Appeals Court. In “the most important trial since Nuremberg”, guilty verdicts on charges of murder and violent attacks on left-wing politicians and immigrants were announced, sending the party’s founder and six other high-ranking members to prison.
Golden Dawn was a far-right criminal organisation and political party in Greece that was first founded in 1985. The group has commended fascist political leaders, like high-ranking Nazis and historical Greek dictators. It was founded by far-right-winger Nikolaos Michaloliakos while he was in prison for beatings and illegal possession of explosives.
A trial that began in April 2015 finally concluded this month, with judges ruling that Golden Dawn was, in fact, a criminal organisation. They were accused of targeting the LGBT community, immigrants, and anti-fascists.
The trial was triggered by the murder of young anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in 2013, by a high-ranking member of Golden Dawn. According to The Guardian, the hearing was “the biggest trial of fascists since the prosecution of the Nazis at Nuremberg after the Second World War.”
For several years, Golden Dawn openly carried out acts of violence against targeted communities, forcing immigrants and poorer groups out of their areas through intimidation and physical force. This went unpunished.
There are suspected connections between Golden Dawn and Greece’s police force; it is thought that Greece’s police sympathize with some of the party’s goals.
Questions about why Golden Dawn was allowed to operate quite effectively remain unanswered, but in the wake of the conviction, are being discussed more publicly.