Amnesty International Greece has condemned a decision by an Athens Court to acquit four police officers involved in a highly publicized case about the death of LGBT activist Zak Kotsopoulos.
It says “letting police officers involved in brutal death of LGBT activist off the hook sends chilling sign of impunity.”
Glykeria Arapi, the Director of Amnesty International Greece, reacting to the decision by the Athens Mixed Jury Court to acquit the four police officers of involvement in the death of Kotsopoulos said it beggars belief that despite footage showing police using unnecessary force to arrest Kotsopoulos while he lay dying on the ground, no officer has yet to be held to account.
“The decision is yet another example in Greece where victims of unnecessary use of force and their families are left without justice,” Arapi said.
She says Kostopoulos will not be forgotten. “Indeed, he has become a symbol of the fight for a society of freedom and equality. We take the ruthlessness of his senseless death and the injustice of today’s decision personally. In response we will redouble our efforts to make Zak’s vision – a world free from prejudice, stigma and racism – a reality.”
A day after the court decision, the United States Embassy in Athens posted a message on its Facebook page.
“We mourn for Zacharias “Zak” Kostopoulos, a Greek-American activist who bravely fought for and defended LGBTQI+ rights. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and the entire LGBTQI+ community in Greece.”
Kostopoulos, a queer activist, drag artist and human rights defender from Greece, was brutally beaten up by two men after entering a jewelry shop in central Athens. Following the attack, footage showed police using unnecessary force to arrest Zak while he lay dying on the ground. According to the forensic report, Zak died from the multiple injuries he sustained.
In the intervening years there have been reports over serious flaws in the investigation of the case.
In its ruling on May 3, the Mixed Jury Court in Athens found two civilians guilty for the offense of lethal bodily harm. The two men were handed a non-suspended ten-year prison sentence.
The Court acquitted the four police officers. Three of the jurors asked for the police officers to be convicted for the offense of dangerous bodily harm.
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