ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — A Greek court ordered the head of the ultranationalist Golden Dawn party held in jail until his trial.
The decision to incarcerate Nikolaos Michaloliakos came early Thursday following six hours of testimony that ran through the night.
Michaloliakos was arrested last week with several other lawmakers and senior Golden Dawn members on charges of forming a criminal organization, part of an unprecedented crackdown on the neo-Nazi party.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou hailed the decision on Michaloliakos an important victory for the Greek legal system, calling it “the most dynamic confrontation of a neo-Nazi criminal gang in European, and possibly world, history.”
Three Golden Dawn lawmakers were freed on bail, raising speculation that the state’s case against them was not strong.
Golden Dawn leaders have denied the charges against them, saying the arrests were part of a political witch hunt against the party.
The crackdown on Golden Dawn, which included the arrest of more than 10 other party leaders, follows widespread outrage and protests in Greece in the wake of the Sept. 18 killing of anti-fascist rapper Killah P by a suspected Golden Dawn member.
Golden Dawn, which has 18 seats in the 300-member parliament, has been accused of being behind dozens of attacks on immigrants in Greece. The party is known for its Nazi swastika-like flag and Holocaust-denying leadership.