Witnesses Attacked as neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party Trial Opens

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A supporter of Greece's extreme right party Golden Dawn raises his hand in a Nazi-style salute during a rally in Athens on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.Credit: AP

The long-awaited trial of the leadership of the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party began inside a high-security prison and was quickly adjourned.

The 69 party leaders and activists, including party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and several party lawmakers, are charged with running a violent criminal organization behind the murder of an anti-fascist musician and several attacks on immigrants.

The trial convened Monday in the high-security Korydallos prison outside Athens, where they are being held, but was adjourned until May 7 amid reports that witnesses were attacked as they arrived in the courtroom, the Kathimerini newspaper reported.

Many of the party leaders have been held since October 2013, when they were arrested in the wake of the killing of Pavlos Fyssas, a rapper also known as Killah P.

Prosecutors charge that he was killed on the orders of the party hierarchy.

Golden Dawn has maintained its political strength in recent years despite the crackdown on its leadership. It currently has 17 lawmakers in the national parliament.

The party, which frequently uses Nazi imagery, has been accused of being behind dozens of racist attacks on immigrants. Its leaders have denied the existence of Nazi death camps and gas chambers.

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