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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | Police State and Prisons
Not an isolated incident (Kaltezas, 1985 - Grigoropoulos, 2008)
The murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos was not an isolated incident. Police wrongdoing, abuse and murder have been going on for a long time. In 1985 a young anarchist was murdered by police... so many similarities!
Michalis Kaltezas (1970 - November 17, 1985) was a student who was killed during the demonstrations on the anniversary of the uprising of the National Technical University of Athens in 1985. The police officer Athanasios Melistas shot Michalis Kaltezas in the back of the head from a distance of twenty meters while the youth was running with other demonstrators away from the cops towards Exarcheia Square. Immediately after Kaltezas' death, the old Chemical School on Solonos Street and the Technical University were occupied. On the morning of the 18th, permission was given from the Committee of University Asylum, with president Michalis Stathopoulos, for the police to enter the old Chemical School. The police invasion took place with the use of tear gas, for the first time after 1976, and the police arrested 37 people who were beaten. About 20 of the protestors managed, via the underground sewers, to get to the group occupying the Technical University. This was the first lifting of asylum since it was first officially instituted in 1982; asylum prevents the police from entering university premises. The disturbances in Athens continued during the following days.
After the events, the minister of public order Menios Koutsogiorgas and the undersecretary Athanasios Tsouras submitted their resignations, which the prime minister at the time, Andreas Papandreou (of the nominally left-wing party PASOK), did not accept. On November 26 of 1985, the group "17 November", as retaliation for the murder of Kaltezas, set off a bomb in a police van (used by the riot cops), near the Hilton, killing one police officer and wounding 14 others.
Melistas was sentenced to two and a half years of prison with a suspended sentence. At the appeals court level, with lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos, his conviction was overturned on January 1, 1990, since the court recognized as a mitigating factor that his action was "in the heat of passion". This action by the court caused new serious episodes including the takeover of the Technical University by leftist and anarchist groups.
(Based on the article on el.wikipedia.org)