by Aggelos Skordas
Athens-based lawyer Michalis Zafeiropoulos was assassinated on Thursday afternoon at his office at 154 Askleipiou Street in the district of Exarcheia. The 52-year-old lawyer, who was also a member of Greece’s main opposition New Democracy party, was shot dead at point blank range by two yet unidentified gunmen who entered his law firm office at 07.10 pm.
According to eye witnesses, the two men rang the office’s main entrance bell in downtown Athens and ran into Zafeiropoulos office on the second floor. Another witness testified, that once in the building, the gunmen masked their faces and within seconds fired two shots, leaving the prominent lawyer dead, while one of his associates called for help, as he found the victim blood covered in his office. According to reports, another associate was locked in his office moments before the shootings. Police has launched a manhunt to arrest the gunmen who fled the scene and the wider area was sealed off. A coroner and members of the counter terrorism department also arrived on the scene to collect evidence.
Michalis Zafeiropoulos, was a candidate for the Presidency of the Athens Bar Association. His late father, Epaminondas Zafeiropoulos, was a former New Democracy MP, first elected in 1989, who has also served as Athens Bar Association President. His brother, Gregoris Zafeiropoulos, is the former mayor of Halandri in the northern suburbs of Athens. The victim was married and a father of two.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for a prompt investigation into the killing during a telephone call to Alternate Minister of Citizen Protection and Public Order Nikos Toskas, while expressing his grief at the well-known lawyer’s assassination. On his behalf, Greece’s main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis issued the following statement: “I express my disgust at the cold blooded murder of Michalis Zafeiropoulos. He was an excellent lawyer, a distinguished member of the New Democracy party and very good friend.” All political parties have issued official statements condemning the incident.