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Home News Greek far-right MEP drops challenge to Belgian extradition

Greek far-right MEP drops challenge to Belgian extradition

Published on 11/05/2021

A Greek member of the European Parliament and convicted neo-Nazi who was arrested in Belgium has dropped his opposition to being sent home to jail, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Ioannis Lagos, a 48-year-old former nightclub bouncer and former member of the banned Golden Dawn party now “hopes he can go to Greece soon”, lawyer Jan De Winter told AFP.

Brussels prosecutors confirmed that the European arrest warrant issued by Greece could now be executed after Lagos decided not to pursue a legal challenge to his extradition.

It was not immediately clear when he would be handed over to Greek authorities.

Lagos was detained last month shortly after the European Parliament stripped him of his immunity and has been held in a prison in the Belgian capital for almost two weeks.

The defendant was elected to the European Parliament in 2019. He entered as a member of the far-right Golden Dawn group, but later rebadged as an independent.

In October, along with other leaders and members of Golden Dawn, he was convicted in Greece on several charges, including that of running a criminal organisation.

But the court ruling could not be enforced while Lagos continued to enjoy an MEP’s immunity from prosecution and to reside in Brussels, the seat of the parliament.

The marathon trial of the Golden Dawn top brass, including founder and longterm leader Nikos Michaloliakos, was seen as one of the most important in Greece’s modern political history.

In total, more than 50 defendants were convicted of crimes ranging from running a criminal organisation, murder and assault, to illegal weapons possession.

The jail terms capped a stunning downfall for a party which was the country’s third most popular in 2015.

The crackdown was sparked by the murder of a 34-year-old anti-fascist rapper, Pavlos Fyssas, stabbed to death in front of a cafe in a western Athens suburb in September 2013.