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A woman was killed just after asking police for protection from an ex-partner. Greece is asking why

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities on Tuesday ordered an urgent investigation into a woman’s fatal stabbing outside an Athens police precinct where she had just requested protection from an ex-boyfriend.

The 28-year-old’s death triggered new calls by left-wing opposition parties for femicide — the killing of women or girls with a gender-related motivation — to be recognized as a distinct term in Greece’s criminal code.

The minister in charge of the police, Michalis Chrisochoidis, promised a “full, in-depth” investigation of Monday’s killing that occurred a few dozen yards (meters) from the Aghii Anargyri police station.

The woman’s 39-year-old former partner was arrested and was being treated under police guard in a psychiatric hospital after allegedly intentionally stabbing himself following the attack.

“What matters now is to fully investigate the incident … and see what the police did or didn’t do,” Chrisochoidis told state ERT television. “This must be done in a very few days, hours even.”

A police statement Tuesday said the victim visited the precinct with a friend and reported that her former boyfriend — against whom she had made formal complaints in the past for abusive behavior — had been loitering outside her home.

According to the statement, she requested a patrol car to take her home for her protection, but because she declined to make a formal complaint, she was directed to phone the police emergency line to send a vehicle.

The statement said she made the call on her way out of the precinct. But “while she was talking to a police operator she was suddenly attacked by her former partner, who fatally injured her with a knife.”

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou expressed shock at the killing.

“The murder … yet another femicide, shakes and angers us,” she said in a statement. “It shows … the urgent responsibility authorities have to fight gender-based violence and crime.”

The police statement said members of the force are trained to respond to gender-based violence, following protocols “that are constantly updated.”

“It must be examined to what extent these (protocols) were followed,” Chrisichoidis said. He added that while he supported the criminal code reform requested by opposition parties, that should follow a “serious and calm debate” by legal experts.

The Athens stabbing was the sixth femicide reported in Greece this year. In 2023, 15 were reported.

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