Greek police arrest fugitive deputy leader of neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn
Police in Greece have arrested the fugitive deputy leader of neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn who had been on the run since he was sentenced to more than 13 years in jail in October.
Christos Pappas had evaded justice since a landmark trial handed down sentences to more than 50 Golden Dawn defendants on charges including running a criminal organisation, murder and assault and illegal weapons possession.
Pappas, 60, was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but went missing a day later. He defied a court order to turn himself in, and speculation grew that he had fled the country.
He was arrested on Thursday by anti-terrorist police at a home in the central Athens district of Zografou. A 51-year-old Ukrainian woman who was sheltering him was also arrested and will be charged with aiding and abetting a criminal, according to the Proto Thema newspaper.
Pappas will appear before prosecutors on Friday.
The mustachioed former furniture store owner, whose lieutenant general father helped install dictator Georgios Papadopoulos in 1967, is a noted fan of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and collector of fascist memorabilia.
He was the last of the Golden Dawn cadre to evade justice, after former senior member Ioannis Lagos, a member of the European parliament, was arrested in Brussels in April, and extradited the following month.
Pappas had also evaded arrest in 2013, when senior Golden Dawn members had been rounded up after the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, the crime that led to the organisation’s undoing.
The Golden Dawn trial, which began in 2015, has been described as one of the most significant in Greek political history.
The organisation’s founder and longterm leader Nikos Michaloliakos has also been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison, alongside several senior party members.
The former fringe party won 18 seats in parliament in 2012 after tapping into anti-austerity and anti-migrant anger during Greece’s decade-long debt crisis.
It failed to win a single seat in the last parliamentary election in 2019.