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Greek lawmaker turns himself in, stays defiant

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, 9:15 p.m.
 

ATHENS — A Greek lawmaker sought by police surrendered on Sunday, bringing to six the number of legislators from the extreme-right Golden Dawn party in custody and facing criminal charges.

Christos Pappas — a lawmaker described by prosecutors as Golden Dawn's No. 2 official — was charged with membership in a criminal organization with intent to commit crimes, like five fellow legislators, including leader Nikos Michaloliakos.

Besides the six lawmakers, 14 Golden Dawn members and two police officers have been arrested and charged with the same crimes. Ten other suspects, for whom arrest warrants were issued on Saturday, are still at large, officials said.

The government crackdown on the fiercely anti-immigrant party marks the first time since 1974 that sitting members of a Greek Parliament have been arrested. The arrests underline efforts to stifle Golden Dawn, which has been on the defensive since a Sept. 17 fatal stabbing blamed on a Golden Dawn supporter.

As he turned himself in at police headquarters in Athens, Pappas condemned the crackdown on his party and the painful austerity measures that have been imposed during the bailout of the battered economy.

Several TV channels broadcast his arrival live, showing him ducking under the cordon surrounding the building and turning to the cameras. “I present myself voluntarily. I have nothing to hide, nothing to fear. The occupation government of the bailout deals has begun unprecedented political persecutions, using so-called independent justice. Nationalism will prevail. Golden Dawn will survive,” he said.

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