Queer Greek Activist and Performer Killed in Brutal Public Attack

Zak Kostopoulos, 33, regularly worked with Positive Voice, a Greek advocacy group for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Greek activist and performer Zak Kostopoulos has died in a brutal public beating.

Kostopoulos, 33, was beaten to death by multiple men in broad daylight last Friday, reports local newspaper Kathimerini. Initial reports of the incident, which have since been disputed, described Kostopoulos as a drug addict in his 20s—and stated that he was trying to rob a jewelry shop on Gladstonos Street near Omonia Square in central Athens.

Meanwhile, bystanders claimed Kostopoulos was trying to dodge a violent brawl that had begun nearby and panicked when he realized he had locked himself in the jewelry store, prompting him to shatter the storefront’s window to escape. (Warning: The footage below is violent and may be disturbing to some.)

CCTV footage of the incident shows multiple men, including the shop’s owner, repeatedly kicking Kostopoulos in the head as he tries to crawl through broken glass. One of dozens of bystanders called an ambulance and police, but Kostopoulos reportedly died of his injuries en route to a local hospital.

A forensic report on Kostopoulos’ cause of death was “inconclusive,” according to Kathimerini. Since the incident, the jewelry store’s owner has been charged with manslaughter. His accomplice, the second man seen violently assaulting Kostopoulos, is still at large.

“We have such clear visual material that we are all in a position to understand what happened,” his family’s lawyer, Anna Paparoussou, told local broadcast network ANTI, referring to the CCTV footage. “A man trapped in the store was prevented from coming out with the excessive use of force that led to his death.”

About 500 people gathered in Athens to honor Kostopoulos’ life the following day, reports local news outlet Neos Kosmos. The LGBTQ activist frequently performed under the drag name Zackie Oh. He was outspoken about his experiences as an HIV-positive man and worked regularly with Positive Voice, a Greek advocacy group for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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