Greece: Right-wing lawmakers to appear in court

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Four lawmakers from the extremist right-wing Golden Dawn party were to appear in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing into charges of participating in a criminal organization.

Ilias Kassidiaris, who is also party spokesman, Ilias Panagiotaros, Yiannis Lagos and Nikos Mihos were to appear in court in the afternoon for a deposition. Another three party members were scheduled to appear earlier in the day.

The party’s top leadership, including its leader, are among 22 people arrested in a crackdown on the Nazi-inspired party sparked by the fatal stabbing on Sept. 17 of a Greek rap singer. Arrest warrants have been issued for another 10 people.

Golden Dawn rose from a fringe group to become Greece’s third most popular party in recent years, riding on a wave of anger over the country’s deep financial crisis. It won nearly 7 percent of the vote and gained 18 seats in the country’s 300-member parliament in elections last year.

Party members and even lawmakers have frequently been accused in the past of being behind numerous violent attacks, mostly against dark-skinned migrants.

The party leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, is to appear in court for his deposition on Wednesday, while a sixth lawmaker heads there Thursday.

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