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Trial over 2013 shooting of strawberry farm workers to begin

The owner of a strawberry farm in Nea Manolada in the Peloponnese is due to stand trial on Friday along with three foremen who are accused of shooting at dozens of migrant workers in 2013.

The incident occurred on April 17 last year, when the foremen opened fire on 120 laborers who were demanding six months worth of unpaid wages. However the four defendants are only due to face charges relating to the wounds sustained by the 35 migrants that were treated in the hospital. All of them recovered from their injuries.

The four will be charged with causing grievous bodily harm and labor trafficking. It is the first time that Greece will hold a trial for the mass trafficking of workers.

The case has to do with a major abuse of human rights within a wider framework, which has been covered up for years by a veil of silence, said the Greek Council for Refugees, which has helped raise money for the migrants to attend the trial, which will take place in Patra.

More than a year on from the shooting, the Bangladeshi workers are still living in shacks in the strawberry fields of southern Greece. Also, they have yet to be paid the money they were owed before the incident took place.

As trafficking victims, the undocumented migrants have been given temporary protection against deportation. This has only been extended to the 35 who were treated in the hospital. The remaining workers, from whom authorities have not taken witness statements, have filed a separate suit against the owner and three foremen at the strawberry farm.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday June 4, 2014 (20:36)  
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