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Officer guilty of boy's murder that sparked Greek riots

By-BBC | 12 October 2010

A police officer in Greece has been found guilty of murdering a schoolboy during protests in 2008, in a case that sparked weeks of rioting.

A court in the town of Amfissa convicted Epaminondas Korkoneas, 38, of the culpable homicide of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.
 
He was shot dead during anti-government protests on 6 December 2008 in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarchia.
 
Korkoneas is expected to be sentenced later on Monday.
 
Korkoneas's patrol partner, Vassilios Saraliotis, 32, was convicted of complicity.
 
Looting
The BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Athens says this was the verdict expected by Alexandros Grigoropoulos's family, who had dubbed Korkoneas the Rambo of Exarchia.
 
Our correspondent says the verdict closes a dark chapter of modern Greek history that saw the worst social unrest in the country for more than four decades.
 
The riots that followed the killing saw cars being set alight and shops looted in a number of cities. Further rioting took place on the first anniversary.
 
The verdict from a panel of judges and jurors was 4-3 in favour of convicting Korkoneas of intentionally shooting Alexandros. Two judges and one juror had backed a lesser verdict of manslaughter with possible intent.
 
Korkoneas now faces a possible life sentence.
 
His lawyers had argued the shooting was accidental but witnesses said Korkoneas had taken aim and fired.
 
The trial was moved from Athens to Amfissa - a small town 200km (120 miles) west of the capital - to deter attacks by anarchist groups that had vowed to kill the two defendants.
 
Exarchia is a rebellious district, popular with self-styled anarchists.
 
Our correspondent, Malcolm Brabant, says the chairman of the residents' association there told him he welcomed the verdict but that the district still had concerns, saying that Korkoneas's special unit still exists, has no proper training and that violence related to it continues.
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