Two unidentified men in police uniforms shot and killed Sokratis Giolias, 37, director of Thema Radio and founder of the popular news website Troktiko, in July 2010. One week after the murder, the Sect of Revolutionaries, a militant anarchist group, claimed responsibility for the attack. As of October 2023, no one had been charged with the murder.
At approximately 5:20 a.m. on July 19, 2010, three unidentified men dressed in police uniforms rang the doorbell of Giolias’ building in a southern suburb of Athens, according to media reports at the time and a report released in September 2023 by A Safer World for the Truth, an initiative between press freedom organizations Free Press Unlimited, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders, to pursue justice for murdered journalists. The men told him that his car was being stolen, apparently to lure him out of his house, and as soon as the journalist opened the door, two of the attackers shot him 16 times using 9 mm parabellum bullets from two handguns killing him instantly, those sources said.
The September report, which was based on witness testimonies, internal police documents, depositions, multiple newspaper articles, and Troktiko’s blog posts, said that Giolias had been about to publish the results of an investigation into corruption and had received several threats in the two years prior to the murder.
The report said that the Athens police claimed that the ballistic investigation had established that the guns used in the murder had been used in attacks claimed by the Sect of Revolutionaries, which formed during widespread rioting over the police shooting of a teenage boy in December 2008. The police also found the burned remnants of what they believed was the killers’ getaway car.
One week after the attack, the Sect of Revolutionaries claimed responsibility for the murder, a claim delivered much later and in a different format than in previous attacks by the Sect, which raised suspicion about its authenticity, according to the report. In its letter, the Sect announced that Giolias was “the first of several prominent journalists and publishers who will be attacked.”
Despite the Sect of Revolutionaries publicly claiming responsibility for Giolias’ murder, no one had been charged as of October 2023. The statute of limitations expires in 2030, at which time authorities would no longer be able to hold anyone responsible for the killing.
The Safer World for the Truth report found that authorities failed to follow several leads in the investigation of Giolias’ murder, including facts that were reported in 2013, such as a police officer’s warning the journalist of danger a few days before the murder.
The case files indicate that the police investigation primarily focused on verifying hypotheses launched in the Greek media, according to the report.
The report also found a lack of transparency from the authorities throughout the investigation, including a failure to keep Giolias’ family informed about the investigative progress.