ATHENS: Two suspected members of the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn went on trial on Wednesday accused of stabbing a 27-year-old Pakistani man to death.
Dionyssis Liakopoulos, 25, and Christos Steriopoulos, 29, risk a life sentence if found guilty of the drive-by killing of Shehzad Luqman in Athens in January. They were arrested a few hours after the murder when a taxi driver who witnessed the attack reported their motorbike number plate to police.
According to the driver, the pair drove up behind the victim and assaulted him as he cycled in the Petralona neighbourhood near the Acropolis.
A search of Liakopoulos’ home uncovered leaflets from the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, according to Kostas Papadakis, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers.
Banned weapons, knives and truncheons were also found at their homes.
Liakopoulos is suspected of stabbing Luqman in the chest, causing his death.
Steriopoulos, for his part, said in a written statement he was “saddened” by Luqman’s “tragic death” and claims he only hit him in the leg.
Both accused deny being members of the neo-Nazi party and Steriopoulos has rejected “any ideological involvement in Golden Dawn” and allegedly condemns the party. Both men say they got into an argument with the victim after he blocked their path with his bicycle.
But Petros Konstandinou, of an anti-fascist movement, rejected their statements, telling the press: “In cases like this, they always deny”.
“Today is International Migrants Day. I hope that the legal system will do its job and convict them,” as the case was only “the tip of the iceberg” of Golden Dawn wrong-doings.
Pakistani community representative Ashlam Tzavent claimed Golden Dawn was responsible for “six or seven murders” and “dozens of attacks” that have never been prosecuted. Human rights and immigrant defence groups have called a rally for later on Wednesday outside the Athens courtroom, where the trial opened under a heavy police presence.—AFP