NEWS

Witness recounts teenager’s shooting

A graphic artist who witnessed the shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos in central Athens in December 2008 told a court in Amfissa yesterday that she saw the two police special guards involved aim directly at the schoolboy and then walk off nonchalantly after firing two shots. Lito Valliatza recorded some of the shooting on her mobile phone from some distance. The footage has been made available to authorities and the media but yesterday she described in detail what she saw on the night of December 6. She rejected claims by policemen Epaminondas Korkoneas and Vassilis Saraliotis that their patrol car had been targeted by a group of youths. She said that nothing was thrown at the vehicle but there had been some form of verbal exchange. The special guards returned a few minutes later. «They were walking in step, giving the impression they were looking for a fight,» said Valliatza. «They provoked the kids verbally and one of the policemen made a rude gesture. I assume that the kids swore at them but I could not hear anything.» Valliatza, who recorded the incident from the balcony of a nearby apartment block, described what happened next. «I saw both of them taking out their guns. I am sure of it,» she said. «They both drew them at the same time, as if it was choreographed, as if they were prepared. They held the guns with both hands and pointed straight ahead, not diagonally, nor up in the air. They aimed straight. I heard two shots and jumped back.» Korkoneas, who fired the fatal shot, claims that he fired in the air and his gun went off as he holstered it. His lawyer, Alexis Kougias, alleged that Valliatza had been coached before giving her testimony. Kougias said that she had contacted lawyer Ioanna Kurtovic, whom he described as «the permanent legal counsel for anti-establishment figures.» Kurtovic is also the lawyer of Grigoropoulos’s best friend who was standing next to the teenager when he was shot. The youngster, known only as NR, said he is unable to give evidence because of the emotions that are stirred by seeing the two policemen in court. The judge ordered that he be examined by a child psychologist.