Alexandros Panagoulis (Greek Αλέξανδρος Παναγούλης) (July 2, 1939 – May 1, 1976) was a Greek politician and poet. He took an active role in the fight against the Regime of the Colonels (1967–1974) in Greece. He became famous for his attempt to assassinate dictator George Papadopoulos on August 13, 1968, but also for the torture that he was subjected to during his detention. After the restoration of democracy he was elected to the Greek parliament as a member of the Center Union (E. K.).
Alexandros Panagoulis was born in the Glyfada suburb of Athens. He was the second son of Vassilios Panagoulis, an officer in the Greek army and his wife Athena and the brother of Georgios Panagoulis, a victim of the Colonels’ regime, and Efstathios, who became a politician. His father was from Divri (Lambia) of Eleia (Western Peloponnesus) while his mother was from the Ionian island of Lefkada. Panagoulis spent part of his childhood on this island during the Second World War, because of the occupation of Greece by the Axis forces.
He studied at the National Technical University of Athens (Metsovion Polytechnic) in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering.
From his teenage years, Alexandros Panagoulis was inspired by democratic values. He joined the youth organisation of the Center Union party (E. K.), known as O.N.E.K., under the leadership of Georgios Papandreou. The organisation later became known as Hellenic Democratic Youth (E.DI.N.). After the restoration of parliamentary rule, Panagoulis became the Secretary General (President) of E.DI.N., on September 3, 1974.
To many Greeks, Alexandros Panagoulis's attempted "tyrannicide" rendered him a symbol of freedom, democracy, human rights, and civil and political freedoms. He constitutes a rare instance of an attempted assassin being elevated to the status of hero of democracy due to his political ethos.
After lobbying by Panagoulis's friends and admirers, Greece issued a postage stamp in his honour (1996), a prepaid telephone card (1996), and gave his name to a number of public sites, including the Alexandros Panagoulis Metro Station in Athens (2004).