Greek police arrest fugitive member of neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn
Athens, Jul 2 (EFE).- Greek police have detained a fugitive leader of the neo-Nazi criminal organization Golden Dawn who refused to turn himself in following his sentencing to 13 years in prison in October last year.
The former deputy leader of the extremist group Christos Pappas was found hiding in an apartment in the Zografou suburb of the capital Athens and arrested on Thursday. A 52-year-old Ukrainian woman with Greek citizenship was also detained on suspicion of sheltering him.
Pappas was among dozens of Golden Dawn members convicted of a raft of crimes including possession of weapons, murder and membership of a criminal organization.
He failed to hand himself over to police following the landmark sentencing and was believed to have fled the country, prompting Greek police to issue a European arrest warrant and inform Europol.
Police surveilled 300 people with links to Pappas following his disappearance but the operation was complicated by the coronavirus lockdown that kept the population largely housebound.
Pappas did not leave the apartment for nine months, according to Greek media.
The 60-year-old was one of the ideological leaders of the neo-Nazi organization and has a family history in far-right politics. His father was a lieutenant general who took part in the 1967 military coup that installed the far-right military junta, known as the Regime of the Colonels.
Thousands of people celebrated the ruling against Golden Dawn last year, heralding it as a triumph of democracy. The court ruled that attacks and murders carried out by Golden Dawn members and sympathizers were not individual acts but rather orchestrated by the criminal structure.
Golden Dawn was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in the 1980s and for 30 years was the most violent group in Greek far-right politics. EFE