In a decision greeted by cheers and clapping from those gathered outside the building, the Athens Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that no extenuating circumstances should be admitted for any of the seven leadership members of Golden Dawn on trial for its activities.
The court said it would admit no mitigating factors in the case of Golden Dawn's leader Nikos Michaloliakos and high-ranking members Christos Pappas, Artemis Matthaiopoulos, Ilias Panagiotaros, Ilias Kasidiaris, Yiannis Lagos and Giorgos Germenis. In a historic ruling the previous Wednesday, the court found that Golden Dawn was, in fact, a criminal organisation in the guise of a political party.
After the court announced the extenuating circumstances for the other defendants on trial, Lagos asked to address the court and submitted a request that the court be recused for violating the presumption of innocence and showing bias toward his person, claiming "direct and indirect pressure" from the prime minister, among others.
The court then went into recess until the arrival of Lagos' lawyer Konstantinos Plevris to make the case. Once there, Plevris will outline the legal arguments in support of his client's petition and also present them in writing. Provided that these are not judged inadmissible, the three judges on the panel must then retire and the court reconvene with a different panel of judges, which will consider Lagos' petition. The further steps in the proceedings will then depend on the decision that is made.
Earlier, the court read out the extenuating circumstances for the rest of the defendants, including that of good behaviour after the act for former MPs Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos and Stathis Boukouras, that of earnest remorse for Nikos Michos and previously law-abiding behaviour for Michalis Avramis Arvanitis.
For Giorgos Dimou and Giorgos Stalkos, on trial for joining a criminal organisation and the Pavlos Fyssas murder, the court admitted good behaviour after the act as a mitigating circumstance and for Anastasios Marios Anadiotis, Giorgos Christos Tsakanikas and Aristotelis Chrysafitis that of being just out of the aged of puberty. The same mitigating factor was accepted for Dimitrios Agriogiannis, Markos Evgenikos, Konstantinos Papadopoulos and Thomas Marias in the case concerning the Egyptian fishermen and for Christos Antonios Hatzidakis for the PAME affair, where the offence has been converted to a lighter charge.