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Greek Citizen Georgios Zantiotis, 24, Died in Police Custody in Germany (Video)

BERLIN – Greek citizen Georgios Zantiotis, 24, died at a police station in Wuppertal, Germany, after being detained by German authorities, Athens News (AN) reported on November 8.

“The young man was brutally abused during his arrest by the German police,” AN reported, adding that “the screams of his sister, who recorded the horrific incident on her mobile phone, are shocking as audiovisual material travels across the internet.”

Video “shows a group of police officers throwing Georgios Zantiotis to the ground and using violence against him in an attempt to immobilize him,” AN reported, noting that “24 hours after this scene, the German authorities announced his death, stating that nothing reprehensible had been done against the Greek.”

“They claim that the young man was arrested outside a nightclub because, they say, he attacked his sister and a police woman,” while also mentioning “drugs,” AN reported, adding that “on social networks, it is reported that the deceased had recently undergone surgery and died due to violence from the German police.”

Though the news became more widely known on November 7, the German newspaper Bild referred to the incident that “concerns a man of Greek descent who died on November 1 in Wuppertal (West Germany) while in police custody,” AN reported.

Bild cited “an announcement by the prosecutor’s office in the case, the 25-year-old was in a taxi with his 34-year-old sister when they had a fight, as a result of which she was injured,” AN reported, adding that after the taxi driver informed the police, Zantiotis resisted arrest, injuring two of the police officers who then took him into custody and at the police station, Zantiotis  “underwent a medical examination, which showed that he was under the influence of drugs.”

“During the examination, the young man lost consciousness, and the doctor tried in vain to bring him back to life,” AN reported, noting that according to authorities on November 7, “the forensic examination ruled out the possibility that anyone could be held responsible for the death of the young man, since the data relate to an illness he suffered from and which, combined with drug use, led to his death.”

Citizens concerned about police brutality gathered in a spontaneous demonstration on November 8 at the location of Zantiotis’ arrest and then progressed to the police station where he died.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also reported on the death noting “that the Wuppertal prosecutor’s office in their announcements did not explain why this case became known a few days later.”

The Greek Communist Party (KKE) released a statement concerning the case, noting that “German police are currently refusing to comment on the circumstances of the young Greek man’s death, denying the family the opportunity to see the young man’s body, while it is still unknown whether an autopsy was performed or not. All this obstruction, of course, raises serious suspicions of covering up the events that led to the young man’s death.”

“At the same time, both the video that was released and the live testimonies at the time of his arrest prove the intensity of authoritarianism and state violence by the German police,” the statement continued, adding that “the Greek government has an obligation to immediately ask the German government for an explanation of the real causes and circumstances of his death and to condemn his brutal treatment. We demand that the circumstances of the young immigrant’s death be clarified immediately and that responsibilities be assigned, where they exist.”

Concerning this serious issue, Kostas Papadakis, Member of the European Parliament and member of the KKE Central Committee, called the Greek Ambassador to Germany.

Diplomatic sources said that the Greek embassy in Berlin, as well as the Consulate General in Düsseldorf, have provided consular assistance to the man’s family from the very beginning, the Athens News Agency (ANA) reported, adding that “the Greek authorities in Germany are also in contact with the competent German authorities, which are expected to do their job, they pointed out.”

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