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Minister sends new file on far-right party

September 24, 2013
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said Tuesday he has sent a new file of alleged attacks carried out by members or supporters of the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party to the country's Supreme Court prosecutor, as part of a crackdown on the party after the fatal stabbing of an anti-fascist musician last week.

The government has vowed to crack down on the group it has described as a neo-Nazi organization, after the death of Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old rap singer stabbed outside a cafe by a man who later identified himself as being involved in the group. The party vehemently denies any involvement.

Golden Dawn, which won nearly 7 percent of the vote in national elections last year, has frequently been accused of being behind brutal street attacks, mostly against dark-skinned immigrants.

Investigations have extended to the police, which have been accused in the past of turning a blind eye to Golden Dawn violence and of mistreating immigrants. Internal affairs officers raided one police station Tuesday, investigating allegations that some policemen were involved in extorting money from immigrants selling contraband cigarettes.

The move came a day after the government replaced five senior police officers "to ensure the absolute objectivity" of the investigation into Golden Dawn. Dendias, speaking after his meeting with President Karolos Papoulias, stressed that the officers are not suspected of any involvement themselves.

Greece's main police union criticized the move, saying the replacements were blackening the name of the police in general, and the replaced officers in particular.

"The damage caused by this in the conscience of citizens is great and is not undone by the police leadership's assurances that the transfers have nothing to do with the tragic recent events," the union said.

The public order minister insisted that the police should not be blamed for recent events. The force, he said, "is fulfilling its duty, which is to protect life, property and the freedom of Greek citizens, and ... the overwhelming majority of the women and men of the Greek Police are completely dedicated to their duty."

The 45-year-old man arrested at the scene of Fyssas' stabbing has been remanded in custody pending trial. Although he has not officially been named, Greek media have widely identified him and posted pictures of him at various Golden Dawn events.

 
 

 

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