A Greek lawmaker faces a criminal charge for allegedly punching a colleague

Far-right Greek lawmaker Constantinos Floros leaves the debate chamber moments prior to allegedly assaulting a colleague inside the Greek Parliament in Athens, Wednesday, April 24, 2024, on the sidelines of a parliamentary debate. (Michalis Karayiannis/ Eurokinissi via AP)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A far-right Greek lawmaker has been charged with criminal assault for allegedly punching a colleague on the sidelines of a parliamentary debate Wednesday.

“We can indict the perpetrator of this vile and barbaric attack, to charge him with a felony under a fast-track procedure,” Parliament Speaker Constantine Tassoulas said, adding that parliamentary immunity applies to misdemeanors but not felonies.

The lawmaker, Constantinos Floros is an independent member of parliament who was elected with the small Spartans party in June 2023 but later left it.

The alleged assault victim was a lawmaker from the small nationalist Hellenic Solution party. State-run ERT television said he required hospital treatment for a broken nose.

The incident occurred during a debate on whether to lift the immunity from prosecution of the Hellenic Solution party leader following a complaint by a relative of Floros.

A prosecutor charged Floros with assaulting a politician. If convicted, he faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence. He remained in police detention and is due to appear before a magistrate Thursday.

Floros was suspended for 15 days over the incident, which was unprecedented in modern Greek parliamentary history. All political parties condemned the alleged assault.

Separately on Wednesday, Greece’s Supreme Court excluded the Spartans from a list of political parties that fulfill the requirements to field candidates in the European Parliament election in June.

The decision followed a petition by three political parties to bar the Spartans for alleged ties to the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, whose leading members were jailed in 2020 after being convicted of belonging to a criminal organization.