ATHENS — Greek authorities have arrested a convicted member of the neo-Nazi Golden Daybreak occasion after 9 months on the run, a authorities minister stated on Friday.
Christos Pappas, the occasion’s deputy chief, was taken into custody late Thursday in Athens. He’s amongst six former lawmakers sentenced to 13 years in jail after a landmark trial in October that discovered that Golden Daybreak had operated as a felony group, systematically finishing up violent assaults on leftist critics and migrants.
He absconded shortly earlier than the sentences had been announced in mid-October, however will now be part of the remainder of the group’s management in jail.
Golden Daybreak’s decline was as dramatic as its rise, prompted by the homicide of the leftist musician Pavlos Fyssas in 2013 by considered one of its members, Giorgos Roupakias. The homicide led to the arrest of the occasion management and a five-year trial that put most of its politicians and dozens of its supporters in jail.
Beginning as an obscure far-right group within the Eighties, Golden Daybreak was catapulted into mainstream Greek politics a decade in the past after tapping into public discontent towards austerity measures imposed by Greece’s worldwide collectors and a rising inflow of migrants.
It styled itself as a patriotic, anti-establishment occasion and gained a powerful foothold in Parliament from 2012 to 2019, turning into the third-largest occasion at its prime.
Nevertheless, Golden Daybreak discreetly maintained hyperlinks with extreme-right events in Europe and the USA, whilst its members performed down the occasion’s penchant for neo-Nazi symbols and paraphernalia. Mr. Pappas, for instance, described pictures of himself performing the Nazi salute (one together with his younger son) as “kidding round.”
Initially, the police had suspected that Mr. Pappas, 59, may need fled overseas, and a global arrest warrant was issued this January. Nevertheless, it turned out that he was a lot nearer to dwelling: The police stated late Thursday that officers had traced him to an residence close to central Athens, and arrested him together with a 52-year-old girl.
There was little element instantly out there in regards to the fugitive neo-Nazi’s life on the run. Talking by cellphone on Friday forward of Mr. Pappas’s scheduled switch to the Domokos high-security jail in central Greece, his lawyer, Pericles Stavrianakis, stated his shopper had informed him that he was “simply passing by” the residence the place he was caught and that he had not traveled overseas throughout the previous 9 months.
Mr. Pappas was considered one of two distinguished Golden Daybreak members who evaded jail after their conviction. The second was Ioannis Lagos, a member of the European Parliament who had taken benefit of his immunity to evade his sentence till fellow European lawmakers revoked it. That led to his extradition to Greece in Could.
Greece’s center-right authorities on Friday welcomed the arrest of Mr. Pappas as the ultimate chapter within the tumultuous historical past of the occasion, which closed its headquarters within the fall of 2019 after failing to re-enter Greece’s Parliament.
Though much less excessive right-wing events have sprung up in Golden Daybreak’s wake, they’re much smaller and haven’t been linked to violence.
“Greek democracy fought and eradicated the poisonous poison of Golden Daybreak,” Aristotelia Peloni, a authorities spokeswoman, stated in a press release. “With the arrest of Christos Pappas, the chapter of this felony group is definitively closed.”