World News

Greek far-right MP arrested, investigated for treason over coup remark

FILE PHOTO: Far-right Golden Dawn lawmaker Kostas Barbarousis stands in front of a Greek flag during a rally in solidarity with his colleagues, who were led to the court to respond to charges of belonging to a criminal organisation, in Athens, Greece October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis/File Photo

ATHENS (Reuters) - A lawmaker from Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn was arrested on Friday after calling for a military coup and a prosecutor ordered an investigation into whether his tirade amounted to high treason, judicial and police sources said.

Konstantinos Barbarousis was taking part in a debate on a no-confidence motion brought against the leftist-led government by the conservative opposition over a landmark deal reached this week with neighboring Macedonia on its name.

Under the deal, to be signed on June 17, the ex-Yugoslav republic will be known as the “Republic of North Macedonia” after decades of talks over its name. The deal must still be approved by both parliaments and in Macedonia by a referendum.

“The dismemberment of Greece has begun,” Barbarousis said, in heated remarks that sparked outrage in the assembly.

“As the country’s political leadership is not legislating in the nation’s interests but in its own interests, I call on the country’s military leadership to respect its oath and to arrest Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, (Defence Minister) Panos Kammenos and (President) Prokopis Pavlopoulos to avert this treason.”

Golden Dawn condemned Barbarousis’s comments and expelled him. The party was banned from participating in the debate.

Judicial authorities did not need parliament’s permission to lift the lawmaker’s immunity for the alleged offense, the prosecutor said.

Athens says its neighbor’s use of the name Macedonia implies territorial claims on a northern Greek province of the same name and also amounts to appropriation of Greece’s ancient heritage. Macedonia is the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Reporting by Constantinos Georgizas and Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Gareth Jones