A judge in Greece on Wednesday threw out a pivotal anti-racism case brought by the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn against individuals it accused of inciting violence against it, AFP reports.
The party filed the lawsuit against multiple leftist groups including prominent far-left intellectual Savvas Michail whom it accused of calling on the public to protest against "criminal organization" the Golden Dawn in 2009.
Conservative academic Konstantinos Moutzouris, a former rector of Athens' Polytechnic University who ran with conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' New Democracy party elections last year, was accused of allowing an anti-fascist website to broadcast from the university.
The subsequent suit signed by party members and at least one elected deputy accused the two of "inciting violence" against the Golden Dawn and "disrupting public order," reported AFP.
Michail, the only person actually prosecuted in a trial which opened Tuesday and lasted one day, hailed the dismissal of the case, which judges dropped in line with recommendations from prosecutors.
"This is a victory against the neo-Nazi threat that until now has wanted to impose its own law. All of their arguments collapsed," he said.
Golden Dawn has become notorious for its blatant anti-Semitic and xenophobic rhetoric and has been responsible for perpetrating attacks on Jews and foreigners.
It openly displays copies of “Mein Kampf,” as well as other works on Greek racial superiority at party headquarters.
Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos has claimed that Nazi concentration camps did not use ovens and gas chambers to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.
For the Greek left and human rights groups, the case that was thrown out has symbolized a landmark moment in the fight against the rise of the far-right party, which first entered parliament in 2012.
A number of leftists and rights activists protested at the trial opening on Tuesday but the Golden Dawn itself kept a low profile, with only three supporters who denied any political affiliation to the party turning up.
The case focused on Michail's 2009 proclamation which ended with the statement "People don't forget, they hang fascists", a cry frequently heard in anti-racism demonstrations in Greece.
Golden Dawn claimed this was a direct threat, while the defense insisted it was only a metaphor and a frequently-used call against fascism since the fall of the 1967-1974 military junta in Greece.
"This trial is a scandal in itself, it should never have taken place," said radical left party Syriza deputy Thodoris Dritsas, who was a witness for the defense.
"It is the first time since the fall of the junta that a person has stood trial for making anti-fascist statements," Michail told AFP.
"They want to create a legal precedent in order to outlaw the anti-fascist movement," he added.
Opponents of the Golden Dawn have viewed the case as ironic for a party known for its anti-Semitic and xenophobic discourse whose members have been implicated in violent assaults against immigrants.
"The Golden Dawn can implement their violent political program unpunished... with incredible hatred... directly leading to violence," warned the Greek League of Human Rights before the trial, according to AFP.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)