Christos Sartzetakis was born in Thessaloniki in 1929. He studied law at the Unviversity of Thessaloniki and became a judge in 1955. In May of 1963 he was called upon to investigate the murder of Grigoris Lambrakis, the peace candidate and parliamentary deputy. Expected to be a good soldier and clear the government of any wrong-doing he discovers a conspiracy to murder Lambrakis by the police. He indicts many high-ranking officers and the scandal plays a big part in bringing down the right-wing government of Constantine Karamanlis. The role of the prosecutor in the Kosta-Gavris film Z is based on Sartzetakis. In fact it is more than based on him. The book by Vasslis Vassilikos is an historical account and the movie does not deviate from it.
In 1965 Sartzetakis was sent with a state scholarship to Paris to study Comparative Law, but he is called back to Greece by the military dictatorship of 1967, dismissed from the judiciary and prosecuted and sentenced to prison for a year. He was released in 1971due to pressure of international public opinion.
After the fall of the Junta he rejoined the judiciary and in 1981 he became President of the Court of Appeals. A year later he is promoted to the Supreme Court of Justice. In 1985 he is elected President of the Hellenic Republic.
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