International News

Acquittal of police officers in Greek LGBTQ+ activist killing ‘beggars belief’, say Amnesty

Graham Robson May 4, 2022

Zak Kostopoulos, queer activist and drag artist, was brutally beaten by two men after entering a jewellery shop in central Athens in 2018. According to Amnesty International, footage showed four police officers using unnecessary force to arrest the activist as he lay dying.

In its ruling, the Mixed Jury Court in Athens found two men guilty of the offence of lethal bodily harm and sentenced them to ten years in jail. The court acquitted the four police officers, despite three of the jurors asking for them to be convicted for the offence of dangerous bodily harm.

Following the attack in the jewellery shop, Kostopoulos died from the multiple injuries. There have been reports of serious flaws in the investigation of the case.

Protesters hold a banner reading ‘Don’t close your eyes’ and bearing the image of Zak Kostopoulos and his alter ego Zackie Oh outside an Athens court.

Glykeria Arapi, Amnesty International’s Greece Director, said: “This decision is yet another example in Greece where victims of unnecessary use of force and their families are left without justice.

“It beggars belief that despite footage showing police using unnecessary force to arrest Zak while he lay dying on the ground, no officer has yet to be held to account.

“Zak Kostopoulos will not be forgotten. 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.

“We will redouble our efforts to make Zak’s vision – a world free from prejudice, stigma and racism – a reality.”