Greek Golden Dawn protests
Greek Golden Dawn protestsFlash 90

Nearly 50 members of Greek far right party Golden Dawn are on appeal trial this week, almost two years after their initial trial resulted in a historic conviction but sentences critics of the outcome considered too lenient.

They were originally tried on charges of murdering an anti-fascist rapper and other violent crimes, AFP reported.

Now the members are being retried with prosecutors looking for harsher punishments.

The case attracted a huge crowd of protestors, said to be in the hundreds, who assembled outside the Athens courthouse on Wednesday. The protestors demanded longer sentences for the 50 Golden Dawn members.

One of the banners said, “Do not reduce their sentences,” while others chanted “Nazis in prison forever.”

On trial is Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos as well as other senior members of the group, which once was Greece’s third most popular political party. In 2020, they received sentences from five to 13 years in prison.

Prosecutors are now looking for 15 year sentences, and are seeking stiffer punishments in the 2013 murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas and violent attacks on political opponents and migrants.

In the 2020 trial, Michaloliakos and over 60 other members were convicted of membership in a criminal organization.

Michaloliakos remains in hospital with COVID-19 and did not appear at the appeal trial.

In October 2021, an outcry ensured after the state prosecutor decided to release senior Golden Dawn member George Patelis, who had been convicted along with the other senior leaders and was serving a 10-year sentence. He was released after only two-and-a-half years.