THESSALONIKI – Fearing protests by backers of suspected hooligans accused of killing their son over a soccer rivalry, the family of the 19-year-old victim want the trial moved from Thessaloniki, where the attack occurred, to Athens.
Alkis Kambanos was violently beaten and fatally stabbed in the leg with a curved knife as he was sitting on a sidewalk with two friends when a gang of men got out of a car in February and confronted them, demanding to know which soccer team they supported and then went after them viciously.
The victim and his friends were backers of Aris while the attackers were said supporters of PAOK, whose fans are known for violence, and 12 accused in the assault will face a court
Out of control demonstrations occur often in Thessaloniki and the owner of PAOK, Russian-Greek billionaire Ivan Savvidis, has had an arrest warrant out since March, 2018 for carrying a gun onto the field during a game but charged only with invading the pitch, not for the gun but he was not taken into custody.
One of the Kambanos family’s lawyers, Antonis Koudroglou, filed a request to the prosecutors of the First Instance and Appeals courts of Thessaloniki.
“The request of the victim’s family is that the trial is not held in a mixed jury court of the Appellate District of Thessaloniki but in Athens for security reasons,”also said Koudroglou of the danger.
That came a few days after a prosecutor recommended that the defendants stand trial before a mixed jury court on charges of premeditated murder, in a case that briefly shocked the country.
The New Democracy government vowed to stop hooligans, and police raided a number of soccer fan club heaquarters in Thessaloniki and Athens, uncovering caches of weapons but the crackdown then soon ended.