Current Affairs

Zak Kostopoulos murder: CCTV footage uncovers new witness

Reiss Smith April 15, 2019
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Zak Kostopoulos takes a selfie.

The gay, HIV-positive activist was buried in the village of Kirra, where he grew up. (Zak Kostopoulos/Facebook)

CCTV footage has found a new witness in the murder of Greek LGBT+ activist Zak Kostopoulos, also know by his drag name Zackie Oh.

Kostopoulos was beaten to death by a mob in broad daylight on on September 21, 2018, sending waves of grief through the local LGBT+ community.

Video of the attack in central Athens was widely shared on social media. But new footage has since emerged which reveals a previously unknown witness.

Forensic Architecture, a London-based research agency which analyses human rights violations through multimedia, identified “the man in the yellow t-shirt” after appealing to members of the public to share any video they might have had.

Zak Kostopoulos case re-opened

On March 12 the group submitted a report to the Greek state investigators which led to a re-opening of the murder case. They sent a second report on April 1 identifying 12 cameras near the scene.

“This footage, currently in the possession of civilians but apparently ignored by the police, could contain crucial information for the investigation,” FA said.

“This footage could contain crucial information for the investigation.”

—Forensic Architecture

Over the weekend police identified and found the witness according to Gay Star News.

The man reportedly did not come forward “because he had children whom he wanted to protect.”

How did Zak Kostopoulos die?

Kostopoulos died after becoming trapped in a jewellery shop on Gladstonos Street, near Athens’ central Omonia Square.

In a widely-shared video clip, he is seen using a fire extinguisher to break through the shop’s window.

As he struggles through the broken glass, the shop’s owner and another man who had been watching from outside appear to kick him repeatedly.

Onlookers intervened, though some joined in with the attack, before police officers stretchered Kostopoulos from the scene in handcuffs, limp and bloody. He died while travelling to a hospital.

Zak Kostopoulos/Facebook

Forensic Architecture have said that Kostopoulos was “violently apprehended”, and have accused officials of “making little effort to investigate Kostopoulos’ death.”

Investigators originally described him as a drug addict who had entered the shop armed with a knife to commit a robbery.

An autopsy found that he had no drugs in his body, and no knife has been found. The true reason for Kostopoulos’ presence in the shop remains unknown.

The Kostopoulos family are seeking murder charges for all involved in his death, including the shop owners and police.

In December 2018 four officers were charged with inflicting “fatal bodily harm”, which they have all denied. His parents have called for murder charges to be raised.

Related topics: Europe, Greece, Greece, Homophobia, murder, Zak Kostopoulos

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