Greek authorities order 105 soccer fans to be detained pending trial after fatal clash

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Soccer fans, most of them from Croatia, cover their faces as the police escort them from the General Police Directorate of Attica to court, in Athens, Greece, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023. A 29-year-old AEK Athens fan died from a stab wound, and ten others were injured when scores of Croatian supporters wielding wooden clubs and metal bats attacked bystanders outside AEK's Opap Arena on Monday. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

ATHENS – All 105 soccer fans suspected of being involved in extensive clashes in the Greek capital that ended in the death of a 29-year-old AEK Athens supporter have been ordered to be detained pending their trial, authorities said Sunday.

Three examining magistrates and two prosecutors questioned the detained fans in batches — 30 on Friday, 40 on Saturday and 35 on Sunday — and decided each day whether to detain them pending trial. One suspect, who is hospitalized under guard, gave a deposition to a visiting magistrate.

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The 102 Croat citizens and 3 Greeks have all denied any culpability in the fatal stabbing of Michalis Katsouris.

He died from a stab wound and 10 others were injured when scores of Croatian supporters wielding wooden clubs and metal bats attacked bystanders outside AEK’s Opap Arena last Monday, police said.

A Champions League qualifier between AEK and Dinamo Zagreb that was due to be held last week was called off by UEFA, soccer’s governing body in Europe, because of the violence.

Authorities will be able to search cellphone signals at the two sites of the clashes — outside AEK’s stadium and at a metro station — to determine any other involvement.

Prosecutors slapped blanket charges, a total of 11, on the 105 fans. Four of the charges are felonies — including premeditated murder and membership of a criminal organization — and the rest misdemeanors.

The suspects will be dispersed among several jails across the country.

UEFA's president, Aleksander Ceferin, will meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday morning. They will then both meet with ministers, the head of Greece’s Football Federation and the owners of the four largest soccer clubs — AEK, Olympiakos, Panathinaikos and PAOK Thessaloniki.

Also on Wednesday, the UEFA Super Cup final between Manchester City and Sevilla will be held at Olympiakos’ stadium near Piraeus.

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