ATHENS – Two store owners and four policemen have been ordered to stand trial on charges of fatal bodily harm leading to the death of Zac Kostopoulos, 33, an LGBTQ activist, in downtown Athens.
Kostopoulos died of injuries after being severely beaten on Gladstonos Street in September 2018.
At a meeting, the council of misdemeanor judges accepted a recommendation by a prosecutor that the six stand trial. The council rejected a request by Kostopoulos’ family that the case be tried as wilful homicide, citing the coroner’s report that linked the victim’s death to his severe beating by the two store owners, a jeweller and a realtor.
Born in the United States to Greek parents, 33-year-old Zak (Zacharias) Kostopoulos lost his life on September 21 at a jeweler’s shop on Gladstonos Street in Omonoia. Kostopoulos lived in the U.S. until he was 8 years old when his parents decided to move the family back, permanently, to their village of Itea Fokidas.
In an earlier online interview Kostopoulos said that his parents’ choice to return to Greece had cost him his childhood.
“Being eight years old and going from America, not just to Greece, but to a village in Greece, it’s a huge change, a cultural shock,” the late Kostopoulos said.
On Friday, September 21, the police reported a robbery at a jewelry store in Omonoia in which the alleged perpetrator was fatally injured in an attempt to escape through the shop window.
This announcement, however, began to be questioned after the release of video showing the man being beaten by the shop owner and another passer-by while trying to get out of the broken window of the store.