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Zak Kostopoulos, a queer activist and human rights defender in Greece, died on 21 September 2018 following a violent attack. Zak, also known by his drag stage name Zackie Oh, was a tireless defender of the rights of LGBTI people and HIV-positive persons.

Video footage by eyewitnesses shows that Zak was brutally beaten up by two men after entering a jewelry shop in central Athens. Footage also shows police arriving and violently attempting to arrest Zak who was dying on the ground. The video shows an officer forcefully driving his leg into his neck and another kicking him with equal force. According to the forensic report, Zak died from the multiple injuries he sustained.

Zak’s tragic death has devastated his family, friends and the wider human rights community in Greece and beyond. Demonstrations asking for justice for his death have taken place in many European countries.

The criminal investigation into the attack on Zak has now been completed. Two civilians and four police officers have been charged with deadly bodily harm. Zak’s family filed a criminal complaint asking for the two civilians and nine police officers involved in Zak’s arrest to be charged with the higher charge of homicide and four of the officers with torture.

Many are concerned about serious flaws in the investigation in a context of persistent systemic failings in investigations concerning cases of police violence in Greece.

Zak’s killing and the initial reporting of the case, filled with stigmatizing remarks and the reproduction of fake news, revealed the deep prejudice that exists in parts of society. This must not be tolerated. If we unite, we can get justice for Zak and his loved ones.

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  Our Petition

 

Michalis Kalogirou, Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights
Olga Gerovasili, Minister of Citizen’s Protection

Dear Minister / Dear Minister,

I call on you to ensure that all perpetrators of the attacks against Zak and those that contributed to his death are brought to justice.

Please also ensure that in the process of delivering justice, the relevant authorities take into consideration whether there was a hate motive, discrimination or any other prejudice

Yours Sincerely,

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