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Ioannis Lagos, a founding member of the Greek National Socialist party Golden Dawn, is due to serve a 13-year jail sentence.
Ioannis Lagos, a Greek member of the European Parliament, arrived at Athens International Airport on Saturday afternoon handcuffed and accompanied by five Greek police officers. The 48-year-old will now serve a prison sentence of 13 years and 8 months, for crimes stemming from his days as a leading member of the patriotic Golden Dawn political party.
The convicted politician shouted, "For Orthodoxy and Greece, every sacrifice is worth it," as he was led before prosecutors. Despite prior pleas by his lawyers that he be jailed near Athens in order to carry out his duties as an MEP, prosecutors ordered him taken immediately to Domokos Prison in central Greece.
"Greek democracy fought and eliminated the poison of the Golden Dawn party. The rule of law stood firm against criminals," Greek government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said regarding the extradition.
The politician's conviction stemmed from the largest trial against Nationalists in Europe since the Nuremberg trials that followed World War II. In it, a total of 68 individuals, including Lagos and leading members of the party, were convicted and given harsh sentences for "crimes" ranging from "operating a criminal organization" to "arms possession, assault and murder".
Lagos, who was elected to the European Parliament in 2019 as a member of Golden Dawn but relabeled himself an independent, fled Greece on the day of his conviction and enjoyed diplomatic immunity in Brussels until it was finally lifted on April 27 of this year — at which point he was immediately arrested by Belgian authorities on a European arrest warrant over fears that he may once again flee.
Though he had initially resisted extradition and suggested he had been offered political asylum outside Greece, Lagos ultimately agreed to return.
Not only had Lagos been a founding member of Golden Dawn, he also sat on the group's central committee. As such, he held control over working-class districts in Athens where Golden Dawn members regularly assaulted non-white invaders, communists, trade unionists and other enemies of Greece.