Four cops charged for inflicting ‘fatal harm’ on gay activist Zak Kostopoulos
Four Greek police officers have been charged for inflicting “fatal bodily harm” on gay activist Zak Kostopoulos after a lynch mob attacked him.
CCTV camera footage of the incident led investigators to identify four policemen who were accused of beating the 33-year-old gay man while he was lying on the pavement as they proceeded to handcuff him.
An examining magistrate gave the officers until December 12 to prepare their defence statements, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Monday (December 3).
Kostopoulos’ death on the streets of Athens on September 21 shocked the local and international LGBT+ community, leading to protests both in the Greek capital and outside Greek consulates in foreign countries such as Australia and Italy.
What happened to Zak Kostopoulos?
In the video footage, which was widely shared on social media and on Greek news channels, Kostopoulos was seen trapped inside a jewellery shop on Gladstonos Street, near Athens’ central Omonia Square.
Kostopoulos used a fire extinguisher to break the glass of the shop window. As he crawled through the broken glass, the shop owner and another man who had been witnessing his struggle from outside the shop appear to kick him repeatedly, with a final kick to the head sending Kostopoulos lying on the pavement.
At that point, a few passersby intervened to defend Kostopoulos, but a larger crowd gathered around the man, with some people still kicking him as he lied on the pavement.
Kostopoulos was eventually taken away on a stretcher, handcuffed, but he died before reaching the hospital.
Zak Kostopoulos remembered for his advocacy
Police initially described Kostopoulos as a drug addict who had entered the shop armed with a knife to commit a robbery—a depiction his friends rejected.
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