Greek court convicts killers of gay rights activist Zak Kostopoulos

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Zak Kostopoulos was lynched on September 21, 2018 in central Athens. Credit: Facebook/Remembering Zak Kostopoulos

A Greek court on Tuesday sentenced two men to 10 years in prison for the murder of gay rights activist Zak Kostopoulos in Athens on September 21, 2018.

A 59-year-old estate agent was taken to jail as the prosecutor proposed that the 77-year-old jewelry store owner serve his sentence at home due to his advanced age.

The court did not recognize any of the defenses or mitigating circumstances raised by the defense. The defense also asked the prosecutor to suspend the sentence, which was rejected.

In addition, the court found that the four police officers accused of participating in the case had been declared innocent by a split decision.

Kostopoulos, known by his stage name “Zak/Zackie Oh”, was an HIV-positive drag queen and advocate for the rights of LGBTQ and other HIV-positive people.

The murder of Kostopoulos filmed

The filmed attack shows Kostopoulos trying to free himself from a locked jewelry store by smashing the store’s glass door with a fire extinguisher. It is unclear how and why he entered the store.

It shows the two convicts beating Kostopoulos who fell to the sidewalk where he was repeatedly kicked.

It then shows him trying to crawl out of the store through an opening in the glass while two men, including the owner of the jewelry store, punch him repeatedly.

After lying on the ground, injured, surrounded by a crowd, the beaten man stumbles before being surrounded by police who appear to be forcibly handcuffing him.

Believing him to be a burglar, officers who arrived on the scene also beat and handcuffed him as he was bleeding on the sidewalk, the video showed. He was pronounced dead a few hours later at the hospital.

Zak Kostopoulos was born in the United States to Greek immigrants

Zak Kostopoulos was born in the United States in 1985 to Greek immigrants; he came to Greece at the age of seven, then left again to return later to Greece.

Zak studied acting and marketing. He worked at the Athens Check Point and volunteered for Positive Voice (an association of HIV-positive people in Greece) while writing articles on the Internet and in newspapers on issues related to human rights, sexuality and gender. HIV.

He was also president of the Gay Lesbian Community of Greece (OLKE). In the municipal elections of 2014, he was a candidate for the position of municipal councilor of Athens with the combination “PNOIKA”.

Kostopoulos was buried in the town of Kirra where he grew up. Since 2018, people have held annual marches in Athens to commemorate Kostopoulos’ death and demand justice against his killers. The slogan “Zackie live, crush the Nazis” (which rhymes in Greek) was chanted at events across the country.

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