After murder of Pavlos Fyssas in September 2013 there was for a while on the Academy of Athens on Panepistimou street written: “If you’d have reacted to immigrant murders, Pavlos may be alive.”
Some of those migrants were: Mohamed Kamran (died: 9.10.2009), Javied Basir (died: 1.6.2010), Alim Abdul Manan (died 12.5.2011), Shehzad Luqman (17.1.2013), etc. Common for all of them is that they were murdered because of different skin colour, and that perpetrators were in most of cases members or supporters of neo-Nazi Golden Dawn. Only in last case the defendants were actually prosecuted.
I was in Athens next day after Dionisis Liakopoulos and Christos Stergiopoulos stabbed till death 27 — year — old Pakistani migrant Shehzad Luqman. The anti — fascist rally that was organised was huge as it fit with anti — racist protest that was scheduled for next day.
Luqman was working at the farmers’ market and left every day early in the morning for work from Peristeri with his bike. He was living simple life with his compatriots and sending most of his modest salary back to Pakistan.
The trial started the same year.
“There is a huge difference between defendants: Stergiopoulos is always entering courtroom with his head high up. He is sitting comfortable, confidently, and often looks in the public. Liakopoulos is on the other hand most of the time looking down. He is pulling his body together, responding slowly and quietly,” I wrote in my notes while following the trial.
The trial against Stergiopoulos and Liakopoulos took few months. The public was rare even if for example plea of both took part on Saturday. When they were prosecuted for life sentence there was small group of people outside of the courtroom. For local media there was hardly any interest.
Even if both of them claimed “we have nothing to do with Golden Dawn” the proposal of the prosecutor in trial against Golden Dawn was claiming differently. Both were later convicted for life in prison, but were few years later released.
While in prison, Liakopoulos reportedly admitted to one of his prison inmates: “I had contacts with Ilias KASIDIARIS, who gave me orders for attacks against foreigners, leading to the criminal act against SHAHZAD LUQMAN”
(“επαφές του με τον Ηλία ΚΑΣΙΔΙΑΡΗ, ο οποίος και του έδινε εντολές για επιθέσεις σε βάρος αλλοδαπών, με αποτέλεσμα να οδηγηθεί στην παραπάνω εγκληματική ενέργεια σε βάρος του SHAHZAD LUQMAN”)
Then on 24th of September 2015 the murder of Luqman was finally recognized as racist crime: “Stergiopoulos and Liakopoulos acted with racist motives”. They stabbed Luqman seven times because he was a migrant.
There was a march two days ago organised at 9th anniversary of fatal death of Shehzad Luqman. In Petralona gathered few hundred people. As every year, they marched to location were unfortunate Luqman was killed in 2013.
The murder of Shehzad Luqman continues to stay as one of the most recognisable racist murders in Greece, but it was not the reason that lead to prosecution of Greek neo-Nazi political gang, Golden Dawn. For the responsible institutions to actually take actions against violent extremists, Greek life had to be lost.
Indeed, if you’d have reacted, Shehzad and Pavlos may be alive.