(dpa) - An unprecedented trial of the Portuguese far right began Tuesday in Lisbon, with 36 people facing charges including racial discrimination, attacks, abductions, illegal ownership of weapons and spreading neo-Nazi propaganda.
The accused included Mario Machado, the Portuguese leader of the international Hammerskin skinhead movement.
Most of the accused were arrested a year ago in a vast police operation that searched 60 addresses, seizing 15 firearms, munition and explosives.
Machado has been in preventative custody since then. His main accomplices were placed under control measures such as having to report regularly at police stations.
The accused used the internet, concerts and meetings to spread racist and xenophobic ideas, according to police sources.
The charges against them include threats against dozens of people, such as the judge who ordered jail for Machado, and the ownership of steroids, which they did not intend to take themselves, but to sell to obtain funds.
The trial was accompanied by heavy security measures.
Machado was already sentenced to four years in prison for participating in a 1995 attack that killed a Portuguese citizen of Cape Verdean origin.
Racism-linked sentences have been rare in Portugal, but police say the far right is growing more violent. Dozens of suspects are under surveillance by police and the authorities, the daily Publico reported.