Greek voters have sent member of far-right Golden Dawn Yiannis Lagos to the European Parliament although he is on trial and not allowed to leave Greece. According to the elections results so far, GD won two seats in the EP.
Together with other GD members Lagos is on trial as suspect for his involvement in the murder of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas as well as for attacking trade unionists and migrants. He is one of the main defendants.
Lagos was arrested in Οctober 2013 and was released from jail after the custody term expired in 2015. Authorities have banned him from travelling outside the country until the Golden Dawn trial is over. He is a member of the Greek parliament since 2012.
The charges against him as well as the ban were apparently no problem for his more than 40,000 voters. No surprise, here. In certain political parties it is customary that the party leader gives the voting order which supporters blindly follow.
Already elected MEPs and journalists at international media in Brusseuls are reportedly concerned about Lago’s election. “There is a moral issue,” they say.
“Apart from the issue of legality, there is also a moral issue. He is accused of the most emblematic trial against neo-Nazism in Europe, with actions such as the murder of Pavlos Fussas and the battalion battalions. How can he simply walk freely in the corridors of the European Parliament?” one of them told daily ethnos.
Apart form the ban to travel abroad and to not participate in public gatherings, Lagos is also required to appear at the police station of the area where he lives.
In order to be able to travel to Strasbourg and Brussels, he would need to make a ban lifting request.
Before his election on Sunday, Lagos had described the ban as “fascism” because it wouldn’t allow him to carry out his duties adding that this would be a “heavy blow to democracy.”.
Stressing that he was a man who go to the edges he said “I can take a plane and go to Brussels and let them arrest me there because I went to exercise my legal duties.
The European Parliament does not check whether MEP candidates have criminal records. The elected representatives of the parties in each country have the right to participate in the European Parliament. However, unlike the national parliaments, decisions on the waiver of immunity are made easier in the European Parliament. A request is required from the competent authorities, in this case from Greece to the EP office. The EP Speaker announces that the request has been received and refers it to the relevant committee that examines the file and make its proposal to the Plenary.
It is assumed that all this is happening very quickly, but the members of the Commission may ask for further explanations and information. It also has the possibility to give the MEP the opportunity to hear his opinion in order to take its decision.
The final decision is taken by all MEPs per hand raise.