The trial of two Golden Dawn members for the murder of Luqman Shahzad began yesterday in Athens. I believe this is the first time in Greece that a murder is being classed as a hate crime (but don’t quote me on that). I will be following the trial closely and will keep you posted.
The 29-year-old fireman, Christos Steriopoulos, and 25-year-old private sector employee, Dionyssis Liakopoulos, appeared in court on Wednesday over charges of murdering a 27-year-old Pakistani in Athens on January 17. The trial opened under heavy police presence.
The two members of Golden Dawn are accused of fatally stabbing Luqman Shahzad with a knife in Petralona, Athens. If found guilty the two men will be punished with a life sentence.
The two men were arrested a few hours after the murder when a taxi driver who witnessed the attack reported their motorbike number plate to the authorities. According to the witness, the men were driving up behind the victim and assaulted him as he cycled near the Athens Acropolis. The defendants, claimed that they got into a row with the Pakistani man after he got in their way with his bicycle.
The investigating authorities discovered leaflets from the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, bats and knives in the residence of the 25-year-old man. However both defendants deny being members of the party.
The murder of Luqman Shahzad was included in the case against MPs, officials and members of Golden Dawn by special magistrates Ioanna Klapa and Maria Dimitropoulou. The case came to trial three months after the fatal stabbing of the leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas (aka Killah P) by a Golden Dawn supporter.
Human rights and immigrant defence groups have organised a rally for later on Wednesday outside Athens courtroom.