Greek neo-Nazi leader detained on criminal charges

The leader of ultra-right wing Golden Dawn party Nikos Michaloliakos (centre) is escorted by masked police to an Athens court on Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013. The leader of Greece's Golden Dawn party was to be taken to a high-security prison on Thursd
The leader of ultra-right wing Golden Dawn party Nikos Michaloliakos (centre) is escorted by masked police to an Athens court on Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013. The leader of Greece's Golden Dawn party was to be taken to a high-security prison on Thursday, Oct 3, 2013, following his indictment on criminal charges as the government cracks down on the neo-Nazi group. -- PHOTO: AFP

ATHENS (AFP) - The leader of Greece's Golden Dawn party was to be taken to a high-security prison on Thursday following his indictment on criminal charges as the government cracks down on the neo-Nazi group.

Nikos Michaloliakos, the first Greek party leader to be jailed in three decades, will be taken to Korydallos prison in west Athens alongside one of his lawmakers and two more defendants after magistrates accused him of running a criminal organisation.

They will be held there until their trial, a date for which has yet to be set.

Four Golden Dawn lawmakers were charged on Wednesday with membership of a criminal group and the party's deputy leader Christos Pappas is due to appear in court later Thursday on the same charges.

Greek authorities are moving to dismantle Golden Dawn - which has 18 members in the 300-seat parliament - after the shock murder of an anti-fascist musician on September 18.

Magistrates also ordered that a local Golden Dawn leader allegedly involved in the murder of the hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas should also be held in custody, as well as a female police officer accused of aiding the group.

About 100 of the group's supporters had gathered outside the court, carrying Greek flags and chanting "Blood, honour, Golden Dawn," when Michaloliakos arrived to deliver his testimony on Wednesday.

They applauded as the 56-year-old mathematician and former disciple of Greek dictator George Papadopoulos entered the court building.

On Wednesday, four Golden Dawn lawmakers including party spokesman Ilias Kassidiaris were charged with belonging to a criminal organisation, in the first ever indictment against neo-Nazi MPs in Greece.

If convicted they face up to 10 years in prison.