Two Greeks, a 25-year-old private employee and a 29-year-old fireman, were being questioned on Thursday in connection with the fatal knifing of a 26-year-old Pakistani in the Athens neighborhood of Ano Petralona, an attack that prompted angry condemnation from the leftist opposition SYRIZA and human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
The migrant was attacked by the two men in the early hours of Thursday morning while riding his bicycle through Petralona. According to a taxi driver who witnessed the incident, one of the two suspects attacked the man with a knife from behind following an argument.
The two suspects, whom police tracked down near Syntagma Square using physical descriptions provided by witnesses, allegedly admitted to the assault during questioning.
The assault – the latest in a string of violent, and sometimes fatal, attacks by suspected members of far-rightist organizations – was swiftly condemned by Amnesty, which said it marked the failure of Greek authorities to curb racist violence. Police said they found 50 pre-election pamphlets at the 25-year-old’s home but did not say if they were advertising for Golden Dawn.
Expressing concern at the recent spike in racially motivated attacks, the watchdog called for “urgent action,” noting that it had gathered testimony in recent months from several immigrants living in Greece who claim to have been attacked.
In a report published in December, AI slammed Greece for failing to tackle a wave of violence against immigrants.
SYRIZA referred to a “violent, racist murder by extreme right-wing criminals.”