Three former lawmakers from Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party were acquitted of inciting racist violence, according to a ruling made by a court in Athens.
The decision exonerating former deputies Nikos Michaloliakos, Ilias Kasidiaris and Panagiotis Iliopoulos was taken with a corresponding prosecutorial proposal that even if the controversial phrases “Turkish agents” and “Turkish conscience” were said to Muslim Turkish deputies in parliament, it does not fall under racist speech as it does not contain phrases that incite violence, daily To Pontiki remarked.
In the trial, Kasidiaris argued he never referred to ethnic origin or national consciousness while Iliopoulos and Michaloliakos said they were not even present at the meeting of the parliamentary committee during which such words were allegedly said.
The decision was welcomed by sympathizers of the deputies who followed the trial in the court.
Golden Dawn was formed in 1980 but was not registered as a political party until 1993.
Its political breakthrough came in the 2012 elections when it received 6.92% of the vote, making it Greece’s fifth-largest political group and enabling it to enter parliament for the first time.
It won three seats in the European Parliament after winning 9.4% of the vote in the 2014 European elections.
Its downfall started in 2019 when it was unable to win any seats, leaving it out of parliament.