Amnesty International Ireland has released a petition demanding a “prompt, impartial, independent and effective” investigation into the death of Greek activist Zak Kostopoulos.
Kostopoulos died following a violent attack on the streets of Athens on September 21 2018.
Initially, mainstream Greek media tried to frame Kostopoulos as a drug addict and thief who died after attempting to break into a jewellery shop, however, eye witness video footage shows the brutal beating of Kostopoulos by two men in the street, while a crowd of people look on. When police arrived, the beating continued as Kostopoulos was violently arrested. The activist died from his injuries on the way to the hospital.
In their statement, Amnesty International outline their concerns regarding the murder investigation:
“So far, two men and four police officers have been charged for his death. While an investigation is ongoing, many are concerned about flaws and delays in the investigation into his death as well as persistent systemic failings in investigations concerning cases of police violence in Greece.”
Amnesty International’s petition makes reference to the disturbing dissemination of Kostopoulos’ death into Greece’s news outlets:
“Zak’s killing and the initial reporting of the case, filled with stigmatising remarks and reproduction of fake news, revealed the deep prejudice that exists in parts of society. This must not be tolerated.”
The petition, which appeals to the Greek Minister of Justice and Minister of Citizen’s Protection, concludes by outlining an investigation in three parts. Firstly, Amnesty call for the “criminal investigation of the brutal attack, ensuring essential evidence is obtained”, as well as a “criminal and disciplinary investigation on what appears to be arbitrary and abusive force by police officers, and the possible responsibility of the police in Zak’s death”.
Thirdly, the petition demands the “investigation of a possible hate motive, discrimination or other prejudice, both in the initial, brutal attack, and the use of force and the overall behaviour by the police”.
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