Grigoropoulos friend to testify

A friend of Alexis Grigoropoulos, who was standing next to the 15-year-old when he was killed by a policeman’s bullet in December 2008, will have to answer questions in court today, even if he has to be taken there by force, a judge ruled yesterday. The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was due to appear in court in Amfissa, northwest of Athens, yesterday but said that he could not attend because he feared that he was being spied on by police. The teenager has twice before failed to attend court. On both occasions, he cited psychological problems. However, yesterday’s no-show prompted judge Angelita Papavassiliou to order that the teenager be arrested and brought to court today if he fails to attend on his own. The police issued a statement saying that neither the 17-year-old nor anyone else connected to the case has ever been monitored by officers. In his initial deposition, Grigoropoulos’s friend said that the two teenagers had been sitting in a pedestrianized area of Exarchia in central Athens when a group of youths near them became involved in a dispute with two police officers. One of the policemen, Epaminondas Korkoneas, allegedly shot at the youths. Forensic tests indicated that the bullet that killed Grigoropoulos hit him after ricocheting off a cement bollard. There was further tension in court yesterday when Korkoneas’s lawyer, Alexis Kougias, said that he had received a letter claiming that Grigoropoulos, his 17-year-old friend and several of the witnesses to the shooting were members of «an extremist anarchist organization.» Kougias claimed that the witnesses had been coached by lawyers to claim that Korkoneas shot directly at the crowd.

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