Zak Kostopoulos, a queer activist and human rights defender in Greece, died on 21 September 2018 following a violent attack. Zak, also known by his drag stage name Zackie Oh, was a tireless defender of the rights of LGBTI people and HIV-positive persons.
Eye witness video footage shows Zak was brutally beaten by two men after entering a jewellery shop in central Athens. Footage also shows police arriving and violently attempting to arrest Zak who was dying on the ground. The video shows an officer forcefully driving his leg into his neck and another kicking him with equal force. According to the forensic report, Zak died from the multiple injuries he sustained.
Zak’s tragic death has devastated his family, friends and the wider human rights community in Greece and beyond. Mobilisations asking for justice for his death have taken place in many European countries.
So far, two men and four police officers have been charged for his death. While an investigation is ongoing, many are concerned about flaws and delays in the investigation into his death as well as persistent systemic failings in investigations concerning cases of police violence in Greece.
Zak’s killing and the initial reporting of the case, filled with stigmatising remarks and reproduction of fake news, revealed the deep prejudice that exists in parts of society. This must not be tolerated.
If we unite our voices, we can get justice for Zak and his loved ones.
Sign the petition to the Greek Minister of Justice and Minister of Citizen’s Protection and demand a prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigation, on three levels:
• The criminal investigation of the brutal attack, ensuring essential evidence is obtained.
• The criminal and disciplinary investigation on what appears to be arbitrary and abusive force by police officers, and the possible responsibility of the police in Zak’s death.
• The investigation of a possible hate motive, discrimination or other prejudice, both in the initial brutal attack and the use of force and the overall behaviour by the police.