NEWS

Swift trials, stiffer penalties for hooligans

Supreme Court circular seeks tighter legal squeeze on perpetrators of sports-related violence

Swift trials, stiffer penalties for hooligans

With Greece still reeling from this week’s murder of a 19-year-old man by soccer hooligans, Deputy Supreme Court Prosecutor Zacharias Kokkinakis issued a circular Friday demanding that individuals involved in sports-related violence are tried within 30 days of their arrest.

The same circular also stated that when there are several perpetrators involved in a sports violence incident they should be investigated on whether their acts constitute the formation of a criminal organization. It added that the sentences should not be suspended on appeal.

Meanwhile Friday, the police carried out raids of four fan associations in Attica and confiscated knives, helmets, sticks and other items that could cause physical harm, at the behest of prosecutor Konstantinos Spyropoulos who launched an investigation into fan violence in the capital.

The move followed similar operations in Thessaloniki on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into the murder of Alkis Kampanos during an attack by hooligans in the northern port city.

According to police sources, the raids started at the PAOK fan club on Halkokondyli Street, near Omonoia in central Athens, and continued to other fan clubs of other teams over the course of the day. 

Kampanos and two friends were attacked by a group of at least 10 individuals wielding knives and rods in the early hours of Tuesday on a street in the Harilaou district of eastern Thessaloniki. 

A 23-year-old suspect – who has a history of similar violence – has been arrested and charged with one count of homicide and two of attempted murder. He has until Monday to prepare his defense.

Meanwhile, two men arrested during the police raids on the fan clubs in Thessaloniki on Thursday were released pending trial Friday after appearing before a criminal court.

The men, aged 36 and 43, are accused of illegal possession of weapons and of possession of objects including knives, crowbars, and metal and wooden batons that are often used in hooligan violence.

The 43-year-old has also been charged for operating a fan club without a license.

In total, police raided 13 fan hangouts and clubs in and around the Thessaloniki area associated with various teams and confiscated dozens of objects that could be used to cause bodily harm.