Further delay in teen death trial

The long-awaited trial of the two police officers charged in connection to the fatal shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos in December 2008 was postponed yesterday and instead will start tomorrow. Amid tight security, lawyers, witnesses and the two suspects, Epaminondas Korkoneas and Vassilis Saraliotis, gathered yesterday at the courthouse in Amfissa where the trial has been moved because authorities feared that anarchists or possibly even terrorists might target proceedings if they were held in Athens. Korkoneas has been charged with shooting the 15-year-old dead in the central Athens neighborhood of Exarchia. Saraliotis is accused of being an accessory. The killing sparked more than two weeks of protests and riots in Athens. An extra 700 police officers were drafted in to protect the town, some 200 kilometers northwest of Athens, and three checkpoints were set up on surrounding roads in a bid to ensure that troublemakers were kept away from the court. Yesterday’s proceedings passed off peacefully, although there were brief scuffles outside the courthouse between anarchists and riot police. Judge Angelita Papavassiliou decided to postpone the start of the trial until tomorrow, as Grigoropoulos’s mother, Gina Tsalikian, was unable to attend because her 84-year-old mother is in the hospital. Korkoneas has employed the high-profile lawyer Alexis Kougias, who was also not present yesterday because he was taking part in another trial. Tsalikian is considered a key witness and is first on the list of those due to testify. However, if she is also unable to attend tomorrow, witnesses to the shooting and the teenager’s friends will give evidence instead.

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