Acquittal of farmers who shot 28 Bangladeshis sparks outrage in Greece

New Age Online

A Greek court’s decision to acquit local farmers who admitted shooting 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers when they to ask for months of back pay has sparked outrage in the country.
Politicians, unionists and anti-racist groups roundly condemned the verdict describing it as a black mark for justice in a case that had shown a light on the appalling conditions in which migrant workers are often kept in Greece.
‘I feel shame as a Greek,’ said the victim’s lawyer, Moisis Karabeyidis, after the tribunal in the western port city of Patras, delivered the shock ruling. ‘This decision is an outrage and a disgrace… The court showed an appalling attitude toward the victims.’
Scores of migrants, many sobbing in disbelief, protested outside the court house after magistrates allowed two of the men, including the owner of the farm who had been accused of human trafficking, to walk free.
Two others, accused of aggravated assault and illegal firearms possession, were handed prison sentences of 14 years and seven months and eight years and seven months but were also freed pending appeal.
The Bangladeshis were shot at in April last year when they demanded to be remunerated for six months of unpaid work at a farm in Manolada in the southern Peloponnese. Four of the strawberry pickers were badly injured in the attack.
‘It sends the message that a foreign worker can die like a dog in the orchard,’ said Vassiliki Katrivanou, an MP with the main opposition radical-left Syriza party. She added that in a nation where fruit-farm labourers are frequently from overseas, the attack in Manolada was far from being an isolated incident.
‘We call upon unions and human rights movements to react against this unprecedented racist scandal,’ said Petros Constantinou, coordinator of the Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat in a statement. ‘The hundreds of millions of profit made in the strawberry industry cannot come about by shooting labourers in strawberry fields.’

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