The plenary session of the European Parliament is expected on Monday (26 April) to waive the immunity of Greek MEP Giannis Lagos, who was convicted in October for directing the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party as a “criminal organisation”.
“Upon the request of the Greek authorities and after the vote in the responsible JURI committee, the European Parliament will vote on the lifting of MEP Lagos’ immunity during its plenary session on Monday evening, with the result being announced on Tuesday morning,” an EU Parliament spokesperson told EURACTIV.com.
Lagos was sentenced on 7 October to 13 years in prison for directing Golden Dawn, a far-right party which has been linked to a number of acts of political violence.
Taking advantage of his immunity as an MEP, he left Greece for Brussels on the day of the verdict to escape arrest.
The EU spokesperson added that in case the EU House votes in favour of lifting the MEP’s immunity, the President David Sassoli will inform the Greek authorities about this outcome immediately.
“If we receive any further requests for cooperation from national authorities, we will look into them and decide based on Parliament’s rules,” the spokesperson added.
The Greek authorities will then issue an international arrest warrant for Lagos. If he is apprehended in Belgium, police there will arrest him unless he decides to go back to Greece and surrender.
It is not clear if the Greek authorities have informed the Belgian police about the upcoming lifting of Lagos’ immunity in order to prevent him from fleeing the EU.
Lagos’ colleague Christos Pappas, who was also convicted, has so far avoided arrest by fleeing the bloc for an unknown destination.
Citing a Serbian foreign affairs official, news website Vice.com recently reported that Pappas was located in “inaccessible areas” on the Serbian side of Kosovo or Bosnia.
“In Greece at some point they would catch him. That’s probably why he is with far-right Serbs, who helped him escape,” the official said.
[Edited by Josie Le Blond]