Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shooting 32 Bangladeshis

Greek court jails four

A Greek court yesterday handed down 18 months’ imprisonment to a strawberry farm owner and three foremen for involvement in the shooting of 32 Bangladeshis, said the Bangladesh ambassador in Athens.
He had called on Greek Minister for Public Order and Citizens Protection Nikolaos Dendias earlier yesterday, Ambassador Golam Mohammad told BSS by phone.
“I asked him to arrange compensation, temporary work permits and legal protection for the wounded workers,” he said, adding seven of the injured were still undergoing treatment at two hospitals.
The Greek minister assured him of taking steps for their compensation or “legal aid” and making efforts to bring them under a “legal frame” so that they can get their wage arrears.
Mohammad said he visited the wounded Bangladeshis at the Greek facilities where the doctors said they were improving but their full recovery might take a few more days.
“I also visited the workers’ makeshift living quarters [at the farm] that were like tents…. Some 150 Bangladeshis live there in a miserable condition as they have not been paid their salaries for the past six months,” the envoy said.
He said the Bangladesh mission provided them with food for 15 days at the farm, which is about 260 kilometres south-west of Athens.
Earlier reports said the four men were arrested in the Peloponnese peninsula last week after the shooting that wounded the 32 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers.
The Supreme Court prosecutor, meanwhile, said the victims would be granted special protection yesterday to prevent their deportation so that they can testify.
The attack occurred on April 17 in the village of Manolada in the west of the peninsula, one of the main areas of strawberry production in Greece.
The three foremen, two of whom are brothers, are accused of firing at a crowd of 200 migrant workers who had gathered to demand payments which in some cases were six months in arrears.
The three foremen, however, told the court that they had acted in self-defence as the crowd had become hostile.
Greek police said one of the shooting suspects was involved in another attack last year on an Egyptian labourer, who was dragged out of a car and injured in a similar dispute over pay.
According to reports, several attacks on migrant strawberry workers there have been recorded in recent years, but the last week’s was the worst so far.