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Greek reporter shot dead in ‘execution-style’ murder

April 9, 2021

The government has condemned the killing of Giorgos Karaivaz, who was a well-respected veteran crime journalist for Star TV. Police have said they are looking for the two attackers.

A hearse is seen on the road where Greek journalist George Karaivaz was fatally shot in the Alimos suburb of Athens
Police have cordoned off the crime sceneImage: Costas Baltas/REUTERS

Gunmen shot dead a Greek crime reporter outside his Athens home on Friday, officials said, sending shockwaves across the country.

According to police, two people opened fire on Giorgos Karaivaz multiple times in the southern district of Alimos just after 2 p.m.

Greek police in Athens
The area of the Greek capital where Giorgos Karaivaz was gunned downImage: Costas Baltas/REUTERS

“I tried to park my car where he lay. I thought someone had fainted. He was lying face down," one witness told local television. "Blood was flowing onto the sidewalk."

Seventeen bullet casings were recovered at the scene.

Socal media reports said Karaivaz had not received any death threats, and that he was not aware of being on a "kill list."

What has the reaction been to the killing?

"The murder has shocked us all," government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said in a statement, adding that authorities were investigating the killing.

Maria Antoniadou, the head of the journalists union ESIEA, said: “Whoever thinks that, in this way, they can silence journalists – there are another 6,099 who will investigate and demand to know what has happened."

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Greek authorities to "fully investigate this crime and ensure that those responsible are held accountable."

Is Greece safe for journalists?

Floral tributes were left on the spot where Karaivaz fell. He worked for several Greek newspapers and broadcast media in a career that spanned decades.

In July, tabloid owner Stefanos Chios survived after being shot in the neck and chest by a hooded man outside his home. That case is still under investigation.

Greek media offices are frequently targeted in firebomb and vandalism attacks.

But journalist killings are generally rare in Greece.

An investigative reporter was gunned down on his doorstep eleven years ago, as the southern European country was mired in an economic crisis.

Socratis Giolias was attacked by masked assailants who shot him sixteen times in front of his pregnant wife.

jf/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)