Yannis Lagos, a former leading member of Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party was arrested in Belgium on Tuesday, hours after the European Parliament lifted his immunity, Greek police said.
Legislators overwhelmingly voted to strip Greek MEP Ioannis Lagos of his immunity in a secret ballot held on Monday. The European Parliament said 658 parliamentarians voted in favour of the move, and only 25 opposed.
The result of the ballot, which was was held following a request from Greek authorities, and Lagos’ subsequent arrest paves the way for Belgian authorities to extradite him to Greece.
Lagos was sentenced to a 13-year jail term in Greece, along with other leaders of the far-right Golden Dawn party, in October for charges including running a criminal organisation.
But the ruling could not initially be enforced in the case of Lagos, who had immunity because he was elected to the European Parliament in 2019. The 48-year-old has been living in the Belgian capital, Brussels, since being convicted.
However, it now appears he will be forced to serve jail time; a Greek police source confirmed to the AFP news agency that he was arrested in Brussels on Tuesday under an international arrest warrant.
The marathon trial of the Golden Dawn chiefs, including founder Nikos Michaloliakos, was seen as one of the most important political events in Greece’s modern history.