golden dawn
Supporters of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party during a rally in Athens Reuters

Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has been allowed by the country's Supreme Court to take part in upcoming European Parliament elections.

The green light came despite an ongoing criminal probe into the party's activities which has seen six of its MPs, including the leader Nikos Michaloliakos, being held in prison while awaiting trial on charges including murder, arson and extortion.

According to Greek law, candidates cannot stand in an election if they are convicted.

None of the party's 18 MPs is on the election list. Its candidates include two retired senior army officers, AFP news agency reports.

To avoid a European elections' ban, Golden Dawn set up a twin party called Hellenic Dawn. But following the Supreme Court's ruling, the neo-Nazis said it will be sidelined.

The probe into the alleged criminal activities of the far-right group was triggered by the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, nicknamed Killah P. Among those awaiting trial is the party leader, Nikos Michaloliakos.

Golden Dawn has always denied any role in the killing of Fyssas. Police arrested a 45-year-old self-professed supporter of Golden Dawn, George Roupakias, over the murder.

Greek prosecutors have linked Golden Dawn with a series of violent attacks mostly against immigrants but also against political rivals.

Six of the party's lawmakers are in pretrial detention. Another three, including party spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, are also awaiting trial on the same charge but are not being held in custody.

Golden Dawn won 18 seats in the 300-strong Greek parliament after national elections in June 2012, gaining support amid Greece's economic crisis and growing unemployment.

Last year its support peaked to 15%, becoming the third most popular party in Greece. Since then, the backing for the party has dropped to around 7%.