Verdict delivers 21-year sentences for the ‘racist’ killing
Two Greek men were on Monday sentenced to over 21 years in prison for the racially-aggravated murder of a Pakistani migrant worker, a verdict that could impact the landmark trial of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, a court source said.
Shehzad Luqman was 27 when he was fatally stabbed by 29-year-old Christos Stergiopoulos and 25-year-old Dionysis Liakopoulos in 2013 whilst cycling to work in the Athens district of Petralona. The pair’s sentences were reduced on appeal on Monday, after a court of first instance had earlier handed down lifetime prison terms.
Luqman’s murder is among crimes investigated in connection with the ongoing Golden Dawn trial, which began in 2015.
Police found a cache of weapons and Golden Dawn flyers whilst searching the defendants’ homes. Luqman’s killers denied links with Golden Dawn and blamed the killing on an altercation.
But prosecutors are seeking to prove that such violent acts against foreigners and political opponents were encouraged, if not actively ordered, by senior Golden Dawn officials.
A verdict on the Golden Dawn trial is expected by early next year.
Formerly on the fringe of Greek politics, Golden Dawn went from 19,000 votes a few years ago to over 426,000 in 2012 when it entered parliament for the first time after pledging to “scour the country” clean of illegal immigrants.
It confirmed these numbers in 2015, picking up nearly 380,000 votes.
Today it is the fourth largest party in the Greek parliament, with polls predicting it will secure nearly eight percent of the vote when the country goes to the polls later this year.