WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR ZAK KOSTOPOULOS
Brussels, 18th October 2018
On Friday, 21st of September, the queer activist Zak Kostopoulos, active in our member organization Colour Youth, died as a consequence of brutal beatings in Athens, Greece. Zak, also known by his drag stage name, Zackie Oh, was an HIV+, sex positive, human rights defender.
The circumstances surrounding Zak’s death have been captured and footage has been widely shared online. Based on eyewitnesses, Zak Kostopoulos called for help, scared, prior to entering the jewellery store. Then, different videos show, chronologically, Zak going from the pedestrian street into a jewelry store for refuge, and getting locked inside. When trying to break out of the shop’s front door, Zak suffered a brutal beating by two men – who have now been identified as the shop owner, and a neighboring real estate store owner with links to extreme right groups – who knock him out almost immediately. The crowd, consisting mainly of men, gathered outside, observes passively and later takes in the lynching when Zak is unconscious. Only two people tried to stop the initial beating.
When the police arrived, 8 policemen acted with excessive violence, continuing to beat Zak and handcuffed his hands behind his back to take him in. Zak died before reaching the hospital.
Both attackers have been put under investigation and have been released under restrictive measures. The coroners reported that the first autopsy was inconclusive regarding the cause of the death.
Zak’s death has been portrayed in Greek media with an utter lack of respect and impartiality. News have surfaced calling Zak a thief, a f*ggot, a junkie, “asking for it”.
We call for the international community to join us demanding justice for Zak Kostopoulos in the protests and actions taking place across Europe.
IGLYO will be taking part in the protest scheduled for the 21st of October at Brussels’ Stock Exchange, one month after his brutal death.
We are calling all relevant Greek authorities for an independent and impartial investigation that takes into consideration the motivation of the perpetrators. We are calling the local and international communities to pressure their institutions to ensure that Zak’s death will be the last of its kind.
Please join us in Brussels at the protest this Sunday in memory of Zak, and let’s stand strong against police violence, violence against LGBTQI people.
We will not stay silent.