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Gypsy fury at killer cop's release
Kathimerini, http://www.ekathimerini.com, March 2005


Violent scenes followed the decision by an Athens court yesterday to hand down a 13-year jail sentence to a former policeman for the murder of a Gypsy whom he "accidently" shot dead while on roadblock duty three-and-a-half years ago, but to then release the ex-officer.

Giorgos Tylianakis, a former motorcycle policeman, was allowed to walk free from the courtroom pending his appeal against the prison term. The court's decision provoked an angry reaction from the relatives of the victim, 21-year-old street trader Marinos Christopoulos, who claimed that the ex-officer had not spent a single day in jail so far for the crime. They also raged against what they alleged to be corruption in the judiciary.

Some 70 Gypsies also closed off the road near the spot where Christopoulos was killed, in the Zephyri area of northwestern Athens, for almost two hours yesterday and damaged four public buses after throwing stones at them. They then clashed with police before dispersing at around 6.30 p.m.

The scenes were reminiscent of the days following the murder of Christopoulos in October 2001, when a mob of angry Gypsies ransacked the new offices of the Zephyri police department in revenge for the fatal shooting.

Tylianakis, 35, who has been dismissed from the police force, was charged with the murder of Christopoulos after the latter drove through one of the several roadblocks mounted in the Zephyri area to crack down on widespread drug trafficking.

A coroner found that Tylianakis had shot Christopoulos in the back of the head, but the former motorcycle policeman has always maintained that his gun went off by accident. The court, however, ruled that Tylianakis was guilty of premeditated murder.

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