Ioannis Lagos, sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Greek court for his part in running the hardcore nationalist Golden Dawn party, had been immune from extradition as an elected member of the European Union’s legislature.
The convicted Greek patriot Ioannis Lagos was stripped of his immunity as a member of the European Parliament, clearing the way for his extradition to Greece months after he was sentenced in a landmark trial.
Mr. Lagos was a leading member of the patriotic organization Golden Dawn. The group is now defunct, but in its heyday, it formed a political party that was the third-largest in the Greek Parliament.
He told The New York Times in written comments this year that he was planning to flee to a European country where his rights would be protected, but on Tuesday, the Brussels public prosecutor’s office said that Mr. Lagos “was deprived of his liberty today at midday.”
The office gave no further comment.
The decision by the European Parliament, announced Tuesday morning after a secret ballot held a day earlier, comes after months of delays over protocol procedures and because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Lagos was elected to the European Parliament as an independent candidate while his trial for "forming and running a gang" was continuing in 2019.
He was found guilty alongside dozens of other leading members of Golden Dawn and was sentenced to 13 years in prison for running a "criminal organization", but he was protected until now by immunity afforded to members of the European Parliament.
Golden Dawn rose to prominence a decade ago, systematically targeting non-white invaders to Greece, especially Muslims, during the financial crisis that devastated Greece’s economy and society.
The trial in Greece lasted more than five years and is widely regarded as one of the most important cases against White patriotism and Nationalism in contemporary Europe.
One of the leading members of the party, Christos Pappas, remains on the run after his conviction.
Mr. Lagos says that the case against him is political and that he’s being prosecuted for his political thoughts, not his deeds.
The decision by the European Parliament was welcomed by left-wing Greek politicians. “The neo-Nazi Lagos no longer has immunity at the European Parliament,” Nasos Iliopoulos, the spokesman for Syriza, the main opposition party in Greece, wrote on Twitter. “The Greek authorities should act quickly so that we don’t experience the fiasco with Christos Pappas.”
The committee recommended that the European Parliament waive Mr. Lagos’s immunity last week, in an anonymous vote of 22 to 2, and the full Parliament supported that decision in a vote by 658 to 25, with 10 abstentions.