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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 19, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 42
Killing of LGBT activist in Athens to be investigated as hate crime
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Killing of LGBT activist in Athens to be investigated as hate crime

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The killing of Greek LGBT activist Zak Kostopoulos will be investigated as a hate crime, a Greek prosecutor said on October 9.

Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou called for a special investigation into the killing of Kostopoulos to determine whether two shop owners should be tried under a law penalizing racism and other forms of discrimination.

Kostopoulos died September 21 after being beaten and kicked by two shop owners and several policemen in downtown Athens.

Dimiriou's demand was prompted by media suggestions that Kostopoulos had sought shelter in the jewelry store owned by one of the suspects after being targeted for his sexual orientation and role as an LGBT rights activist.

Videos from the scene show him trying to flee the jewelry store after being trapped inside by a security door. Once he escaped from the store, he was repeatedly kicked in the head by the two shop owners.

Additional videos uncovered by Greek media show Kostopoulos being roughed up by police after he was down on the ground and bleeding from the initial attack.

In the videos, eight policemen surround Kostopoulos, who lies motionless on the ground. They were called to the scene by bystanders, who were concerned by the violent attack on Kostopoulos by the shop owners.

But the police do not assist Kostopoulos, although the videos clearly show him bleeding and semiconscious on the ground.

Instead, the police kick him, beat him with a baton, drag him by one of his arms, and swear at him. Meanwhile, he shows no reaction at all. His head is wrapped with bandage and is bleeding.

While Kostopoulos in on the ground, the policemen step on his legs, and pull him by the arms. At some point and without obvious reason, a policeman approaches him and steps on Kostopoulos' throat, while a second officer approaches him and kicks him.

Later, and again with no obvious reason, the officers fall on Kostopoulos.

Greek police are notoriously hostile to the LGBT community. Many are reportedly members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Another incident that will be investigated as a hate crime involves a fire that broke out in June at a makeshift migrant workers' camp in the rural area of Manolada in the northwestern Peloponese.

According to the National Committee for Human Rights, the fire resulted in 164 foreign laborers losing all of their personal documents, including work and residence permits.

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