Greek extreme far-right leader to return to prison after judges rescind his early release

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The head of Greece’s extreme far-right Golden Dawn party will return to prison after a council of judges rescinded his early conditional release on Monday.

Nikos Michaloliakos was arrested in his Athens home following the decision, and will be taken back to prison just over a month after his release.

The council of judges ruled that Michaloliakos, 66, must serve the remainder of his 13-year sentence for running a criminal organization blamed for violent hate crimes.

Last month, another council of judges accepted Michaloliakos' request for early release after he had served the minimal legal requirement. The decision also took into consideration that he was aged over 65, which increases the time he is formally considered to have served.

But Monday's ruling, which followed an appeal by a prosecutor, found that Michaloliakos had shown no repentance for the crimes he was convicted of and was capable of reoffending if at liberty.

Michaloliakos and five other former Golden Dawn lawmakers were convicted in October 2020 of running a criminal organization and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Other party members received lesser sentences, following a five-year trial.

Golden Dawn was founded as a Nazi-inspired group in the 1980s and rose to become Greece’s third-largest political party during most of the country’s 2010-2018 financial crisis. Its support later declined, and the party failed to enter parliament post-crisis.

The crackdown on the party followed the 2013 fatal stabbing of a left-wing musician in Athens, for which a Golden Dawn associate was given a life sentence.

Greek political parties and the family of the slain musician had expressed dismay at the initial decision for Michaloliakos' early release.