Even as Greece is preparing for a November trial charging the ultra far-right Golden Dawn party leaders of running a criminal gang, a report from the U.S. group Human Rights First alleges police were told to go easy on the extremists even after attacks on immigrants.
The report, We’re not Nazis, But… The Rise of Hate Parties in Hungary and Greece and Why America Should Care, includes testimony from a former Golden Dawn member, who was not identified but will testify at the trial, that the police were under orders not to trouble neo-Nazis.
“Once, when four Golden Dawn members attacked two Pakistani migrants and beat them ‘really, really badly,’ he received a phone call from the police chief, who had ties to the local Golden Dawn boss and told him the case would not be investigated,” he said in the report.
Two of Golden Dawn’s 18 lawmakers – all of whom have been arrested, including leader Nikos Michaloliakos – left the party after revelations about its alleged criminal activities.
The same witness also told Human Rights First that a businessman who was a member of the ruling New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras provided financial support for the extremist party in 2011 in the hope that it would become a coalition partner for the conservatives.
Samaras, who had spouted anti-immigrant statements during his 2012 campaign and was accused of going easy on the extremists until one of its members was charged with killing an anti-fascist hip-hop artist last year, turned to the PASOK Socialists to form a government when he didn’t have a majority of Parliament.
Human Rights First describes itself as an “independent advocacy and action organization.”
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