by Aggelos Skordas
Ousted far-right Golden Dawn MP Konstantinos Barbarousis accused of treason after calling the Greek Armed Forces to arrest Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, National Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in order to block the agreement between Greece and FYROM was arrested on Monday morning and has been given until Wednesday to appear before an examining magistrate.
Barbarousis, who on Friday night evaded a police roadblock in the western region of Aetoloakarnania, was arrested by counter terrorism department officers at a house in the northern Athens suburb of Penteli shortly after 8am on Monday and according to police sources he did not resist the arrest. Police cordoned off his hideout and executed a warrant for his arrest issued on the basis of criminal charges of taking preparatory actions to commit high treason.
Following his arrest the now independent MP was given additional time to prepare his testimony on the charges against him. According to his attorney P. Koratzopoulos, Barbarousis denies the charges and described the entire episode as an “unfortunate choice of words used uttered during his speech at a moment of peak emotion”, adding that his client’s phraseology is “obviously not suitable for provoking the crimes of which he is accused”.
After the turmoil Barbarousis statements caused, the Golden Dawn party formally renounced the MP’s position and expelled him with an official statement pressed by the party’s leader Nikos Michaloliakos. Nevertheless, Golden Dawn’s parliamentary group applauded Barbarousis while he was leaving the Parliament’s podium and Michaloliakos’ decision to sack him was taken in the face of a serious possibility that the prosecutor will press charges against his entire parliamentary group and the party.
Barbaroussis was charged based on his speech in Parliament, during Friday’s debate on a no-confidence motion against the SYRIZA government. “Since the political leadership of the country is not legislating in the interests of the nation but their own personal interests, I call on the military leadership of the country to honor their oath. To arrest Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, [National Defense Minister] Panos Kammenos and [President] Prokopis Pavlopoulos to prevent this treason! Your heads in Prespes [where the agreement between Athens and Skopje is scheduled to be signed by the Foreign Ministers Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov]” he said.
The charges were filed following a prosecutor’s investigation after National Defense Minister and junior coalition ANEL leader Kammenos, along with his Alternate Minister Fotis Kouvelis filed a lawsuit against Barbaroussis and Golden Dawn party. In order to lift an MP’s immunity from prosecution judicial authorities do not need the Parliament’s approval in the case of treason-related charges.