Golden Dawn fugitive Christos Pappas arrested in Greece

Golden Dawn MP Christos Pappas addresses an election rally
Christos Pappas had been wanted since October

The fugitive deputy leader of Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn has been detained in Athens after months of evading arrest, media reports say.

Christos Pappas had been wanted by police since October, when the entire leadership of Golden Dawn was convicted of running a criminal organisation. Pappas was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but refused to hand himself in.

He is known for having an obsession with Nazism and was considered a leading ideologue of Golden Dawn. A police source told AFP news agency Pappas was eventually caught at a home in the Athens district of Zografou.

A police statement, which did not mention Pappas by name, said a 59-year-old man had been arrested by counter-terrorism officers and was set to be brought before the prosecutor on Friday. A 52-year-old woman who had allegedly been hiding him was also arrested, it said.

Pappas’s lawyer has not yet commented. In October, he said his client would not surrender as he expected his conviction to be quashed on appeal.

Pappas was a founding member of Golden Dawn and close friend of its leader. He has been photographed under a Nazi flag and filmed teaching children to do the Hitler salute.

Golden Dawn reached peak popularity during Greece’s crippling financial crisis in 2012, but it became notorious for links to attacks on immigrants and left-wing activists.

A criminal inquiry into the party began in 2013 after an anti-fascist rapper was murdered by a Golden Dawn supporter in Athens.

Pappas also evaded arrest at this time, with police finding swastika flags and bottles stamped with images of Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini in searches of his home, according to reports.

The landmark Golden Dawn trial lasted more than five years and saw verdicts against 68 defendants handed down in October.

Clashes broke out outside the courtroom following the verdict. Petrol bombs, rocks and flares were thrown at police who responded with tear gas and water cannons in Athens.

Another former member of the Golden Dawn party hierarchy, Ioannis Lagos, was extradited from Belgium in May.

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