THESSALONIKI – The New Democracy government’s vow to get tough on soccer hooligans and have them sent straight to jail has fallen by the wayside with courts being lenient on attackers, despite the February killing of a fan in Thessaloniki over a rivalry.
A Thessaloniki court convicted four young people for violently assaulting a student with a knife in June 2018, an incident a prosecutor blamed on rivalry between fans of rival football clubs, said Kathimerini.
The court found the accused guilty of grievous bodily harm but accepted their age at the time of the offense as a mitigating factor, no report how old they were at the time of why there wasn’t a harsher sentence for using a knife.
Two of the defendants were convicted of a criminal act and were handed suspended sentences of 5 1/2 and 5 years, respectively, on condition they report to a local police station once a month but they won’t go to jail.
The two other defendants were convicted of a misdemeanor and must pay 5 euros ($5.27) a day in lieu of a four-year sentence, another practice that was supposed to stop but continues despite the government’s pledge to be tough.
The incident happened outside the home of the victim, who was 21 years old at the time, as he was heading to university. He was stabbed numerous times during the attack, including in the liver. He was also kicked in the head.
The prosecutor in the case blamed the attack on fan-related violence, noting that the victim was reluctant to testify about the assault due to the code of silence that exists between rival fan clubs.
Although the defendants were convicted, they weren’t named.