Greek far-right EU lawmaker arrested in Brussels

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BRUSSELS

The Belgian police arrested on Tuesday a Greek far-right member of the European Parliament in his home in Brussels, the EU lawmaker announced.

“I am in Belgian custody. Thieves, atheists, and anti-Greeks take me to prison,” Ioannis Lagos wrote on Twitter following his arrest which was also confirmed by Greek media sources.

The European Parliament announced earlier on Tuesday that it had lifted the immunity of Lagos.

Right after the decision, the Greek authorities issued an arrest warrant against him asking for his extradition to serve a jail sentence.

EU lawmakers approved with an overwhelming majority – 658 in favor, 25 against, and 10 abstention – the immunity waiver for Lagos, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison in Greece.

The vote took place on Monday, but the results were only revealed the day after.

In October, a Greek court found the leadership of the far-right Golden Dawn party guilty on charges of forming a criminal organization.

The group was charged with the fatal stabbing of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in 2013 and attacks on Egyptian fishermen as well as activists affiliated with leftist groups.

Lagos, a prominent figure of the party, received a 13-year prison sentence.

In 2019, he was also found guilty of leading an attack against a community center in Athens that hosted asylum-seekers.

Last year, he was penalized by the European Parliament for tearing apart the Turkish flag and using insulting language during a plenary debate about the humanitarian situation on the Greek islands.

The Golden Dawn was formed in 1980 as a neo-Nazi group.

The political breakthrough came in the 2012 Greek elections when it got 6.92% of the votes in parallel with the eurozone crisis and unprecedented economic recession.

The party won seats in four consecutive elections, but it could not make it to the Greek parliament in 2019.

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