Tributes flow after the death of former Greek President Christos Sartzetakis

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Former Greek President, Christos Sartzetakis, passed away early on Thursday morning in a hospital in Athens at the age of 92.

Sartzetakis had been hospitalised in the intensive care unit of Athens’ Laiko hospital and died in the early hours of Thursday of respiratory failure, the hospital said in a statement.

Who was Christos Sartzetakis?

Born in April 1929, Sartzetakis held the largely ceremonial post of president of Greece from 1985-1990, a politically tumultuous time in the country.

Sartzetakis was also an investigating judge in the 1963 murder of politician, Grigoris Lambrakis, by right-wing extremists, and was lauded for resisting intense political pressure during the case. Lambrakis’ killing triggered mass protests and a political crisis.

Christos Sartzetakis.

The former Greek President was fired from the judicial branch in 1968 during the military dictatorship, arrested, tortured and imprisoned without trial. He was eventually released in 1971 and was reinstated into the judiciary after the fall of the junta in 1974, rising to become a Supreme Court judge in 1982. 

He was nominated as president by the socialist PASOK party in 1985, and served in that position until May 1990.

Paying tribute to the former President:

In a message after hearing of Sartzetakis’ death, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Sartzetakis was known for “the denunciation of unconstitutional mechanisms in the Lambraki case. Those who, unfortunately, came to the fore with the seven-year dictatorship, leading to his own persecution.”

“During the 1989-90 period, in an atmosphere of intense political tension, his work on the formation of a government was impeccable,” the PM added.

President Katerina Sakellaropoulou spoke of a “principled servant of Justice who, in difficult times for the country and its democracy, handled as an investigator the case of the murder of Lambrakis with exemplary independence and judicial ethos, [and] paying…a heavy price in the years of the junta.”

“Later, as President of the Republic, he honoured the office with conscientiousness, dedication and a high sense of responsibility in the execution of his duties,” she said.

Movement for Change (KINAL) leader, Nikos Androulakis, also expressed his condolences to the late President’s family, noting that “he was a patriot who consistently served the public interest, Justice and Democracy.”

Former socialist Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, said Sartzetakis supported democracy “bravely and stubbornly,” in adverse conditions and expressed his condolences to his family.

Sartzetakis is survived by his wife and their daughter.

Source: AP News.

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