Deputy leader of the Golden Dawn managed to avoid arrest after jail sentence

A Greek neo-Nazi ideologue and deputy leader of the Golden Dawn party has evaded arrest Friday as dozens of fellow members headed to prison following a group conviction.

Christos Pappas, whose father played a key role in a 1967 military coup, has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for his role in running Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation.

His lawyer on Friday said he would not turn himself in, and a search of at least five homes linked to Pappas has failed to locate him, state TV ERT said.

The former furniture store owner, whose lieutenant-general father helped install dictator Georgios Papadopoulos in 1967, is an admirer of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and collector of fascist memorabilia.

Pappas, 58, had also evaded arrest in 2013, when senior Golden Dawn members had been rounded up following the murder of the anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, the crime that led to the organisation’s undoing.

The Golden Dawn trial, which began in 2015, has been described as one of the most significant in Greek political history.

The organisation’s founder and long-term leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, has also been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison, alongside several senior party members.

Michaloliakos’s wife and other party cadres and members received lesser sentences. Some of them have walked free pending their appeal.

The Golden Dawn convicts will be shared out between at least four prisons, ERT said Friday.

The former fringe party won 18 seats in parliament in 2012 after tapping into anti-austerity and anti-migrant anger during Greece’s decade-long debt crisis.

It failed to win a single seat in last year’s parliamentary election.