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Counsel of men accused of fatal stabbing of Pakistani man say motive not racial

The mother of a 27-year-old Pakistani man stabbed to death reacts as she leaves an Athens court where two suspected members of the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn accused of her son's murder are being judged on Wednesday.

The trial of 29-year-old firefighter Christos Stergiopoulos and 25-year-old Dionysis Liakopoulos, accused of killing Pakistani national Luqman Shahzad, 27, in the Athenian suburb of Petralona in the early hours of January 17, began on Wednesday with the testimony of two eye witnesses and the arresting police officers.

The two eye witnesses were key to the prosecutor's case as they helped identify the suspects after coming out onto their balconies just moments after the 29-year-old firefighter and the 25-year-old private sector employee allegedly attacked Shahzad and stabbed him to death.

The lawyers defending the two suspects are attempting to convince the court that the attack was not racially motivated but that the defendants were annoyed that Shahzad was blocking their way with his bicycle.

The two officers of the motorycle-riding DIAS who subsequently arrested Stergiopoulos and Liakopoulos told the court that they had received orders to stop a grey-colored scooter carrying two men that had been spotted by witnesses at the scene of the stabbing. The officers explained that they stopped the two suspects in Syntagma Square and searched them, discovering that both were armed with folding pocket knives and that the weapon held by Liakopoulos appeared to have bloodstains on it. When the officers questioned the pair about the weapons, they responded that they had been attacked and used their knives in self defense, the police officers told the court.

A police search of Liakopouloss house after his arrest had revealed election campaign material for far-right Golden Dawn, leading investigators of the party's activities to suspect that he may have links to it.

The trial is scheduled to resume after the holidays on January 8. , Wednesday December 18, 2013 (20:52)  
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