Gay activist dies after public lynching

Zak Kostopoulos, a 33-year-old Greek LGBT+ activist, died after a brutal attack in broad daylight in Athens.

Dialekti Angeli
Dialekti Angeli NewsMavens, Greece
Gay
activist dies after public lynching - NewsMavens
Zak Kostopoulos, YouTube

Why this story matters:

It had been reported that LGBT+ activist and drag performer Zak Kostopoulos died in an accident following the attempted robbery of a jewelry store in Athens. 

However, videos that have recently surfaced instead show him being kicked to death by two men in the middle of the day and in front of a crowd of onlookers.

The two men have been arrested, but details surrounding the incident are still unclear.

The footage -- which is now part of an ongoing investigation -- shows someone who appears to be Kostopoulos trying to escape from a locked jewelry shop. After he was unable to break the glass door, he then attempted to crawl out of the store while two men repeatedly kicked him in the head. After a medical rescuer provided first aid, a bloody Kostopoulos is seen stumbling away before being forcefully handcuffed by the police. He is then carried away on a stretcher. Kostopoulos reportedly died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but accounts differ.

Some media users reported that Kostopoulos was not attempting any sort of robbery, but entered the shop looking for protection after a brawl had started in the nearby café where he was sitting. And the truth is that in the footage, he does not appear to steal anything from the counter or the showcase. He is only seen trying to get out of the store.

The two men who attacked Zak, the shop owner and the owner of a nearby business -- who is associated with the far-right -- were arrested but released on restrictive terms.

Anna Paparoussou, the Kostopoulos’ family attorney, said in an on-camera interview: “If the video did not exist, the case might have been closed without any further investigation”.

Zak Kostopoulos is dead but unfortunately society's hate, intolerance and violence towards others has not died with him.

Details from the story:

  • Zak Kostopoulos was a well-known LGBT+ activist. He was committed to raising awareness about HIV and he was speaking out against the stigma surrounding the virus. He was also a popular drag queen, performing under the stage name “Zackie Oh”.
  • According to a forensic report Kostopoulos’ precise cause of death is inconclusive. Further autopsy results are expected to be released soon.
  • Protest rallies were held in his honor.
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