Police officers charged over death of Greek gay HIV activist Zak Kostopoulos

Police officers charged over death of Greek gay HIV activist Zak Kostopoulos
Image: Image: Justice For Zak/Zackie / Facebook.

Four Greek police officers have been charged over the tragic death of prominent gay, HIV-positive activist Zak Kostopoulos.

Kostopoulos died from a heart attack earlier this year after being beaten by two men who thought he was robbing a jewellery store.

Four policeman, who were identified through CCTV footage, allegedly beat the 33-year-old while he was on the ground before arresting him, PinkNews reported.

Kostopoulos died on the way to hospital, and police later described him as a ‘junkie’ who was wielding a knife.

An autopsy failed to find any trace of drugs in his system, and it was never confirmed that a knife found in the jewellery store belonged to him.

Kostopoulos’ family is demanding murder charges be laid against the shop’s owner – Kostopoulos appeared to be trapped inside, and was beaten after breaking a glass window to escape – and against the four police officers.

“You, together with your cohabiting police officers, at the time of the arrest of the above, have caused him physical injury, which resulted in his death,” an investigation into the officers’ actions found.

“In particular, you hit him causing him physical injury which was increased because of the situation he had suffered.”

The officers are currently facing charges of inflicting harm resulting in death.

Kostopoulos was prominent in Greece for his activism on behalf of the LGBTI community and people living with HIV, and for performing as drag artist Zackie Oh.

Kostopoulos’ death in September triggered protests in Greece and around the world over his portrayal in media, with Greek outlets speculating over his sexuality and HIV status, as well as outside Greek consulates.

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