Ex-Golden Dawn members reveal neo-Nazi party's 'criminal acts'

Ex-Golden Dawn members reveal neo-Nazi party's 'criminal acts'
Christos Pappas (2nd-R), lawmaker of the extreme far-right Golden Dawn party, is escorted by masked police officers to the prosecutor's office from the police headquarters in Athens on September 29, 2013. Greek police swooped on the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, arresting its leadership and hunting for dozens of members across the country in a crackdown sparked by the murder of a leftist musician.

ATHENS - Greece's Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party regularly organised "assault militias" in which dozens of members would ride the streets on motorbikes, hitting immigrants with a stick, according to a government report and testimonies cited in the Greek press on Monday.

"I took part several times in activities involving 50 or 60 motorbikes, with two people on each. The one who was sitting behind held a stick with the Greek flag and hit all the Pakistanis he could see," one ex-member said in court testimony.

Greek police arrested the controversial party's founder and five other prominent members amid high tensions following the murder of a leftist musician allegedly stabbed to death by a Golden Dawn supporter.

Testimonies from two former members, along with a report by an examining magistrate revealed a series of "criminal acts" by the group, press reports said.

Golden Dawn has a "strictly hierarchical structure, the leader is all-powerful following the principle used by Hitler," said the report by the deputy prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Charalambos Vourliotis.

The neo-Nazi party started its attacks in 1987, the report said, initially targeting immigrants and then turning against Greeks.

The report said the party members were trained in military style and had allegedly committed dozens of criminal acts, including voluntary homicide and attempted homicide.

Police on Monday continued their raids on Golden Dawn premises, searching for hidden arms supplies.

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