As the trial into the killing of 22-year-old American tourist Bakari Henderson on the Greek holiday island of Zakynthos last summer begun in the western port city of Patra on Friday, his parents Phil and Jill Henderson expressed hope that key witnesses will be able to testify as soon as possible.
The Hendersons have traveled to Greece for the trial against nine men, most of them Serbian nationals, who are accused of beating Bakari to death following an altercation at a bar in the resort town of Laganas on the night of July 7.
Arriving in Patra on Thursday, they met with their lawyer Andreas Patsis to discuss today’s trial.
“It is very important for us that it is starting, but we are anxious,” they told Kathimerini.
They are concerned that the accused will be released once the 18 month-limit of pre-trial detention has passed. Already two of the nine defendants accused of attempted manslaughter have returned to Serbia and will not participate in the proceedings, according to Kathimerini’s sources.
The other defendants are being held in a prison in Patra where they will remain until the end of the trial.
During their meeting, Patsis told the family they “have to be prepared for everything in the court room,” noting that the defence for the accused will attempt to present Bakari as someone who has aggressive, that he instigated the incident.
“Thankfully, there is a video which shows exactly what has happened,” he added.
In the first day in court, Patsis’ team will ask the court to play the CCTV footage which captured the deadly assault.
For the family of Bakari are hoping key witnesses from the United States will have time to testify. Only two of the victim’s three friends were able to travel to Greece for the trial and will have to return to their country soon.
“We are obviously concerned about all this, but we trust Greek justice. You cannot turn back time for Bakari and our family, but it is very important for us that justice is served,” Jill and Phil Henderson told Kathimerini.