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Strawberry farm shooting verdict draws ire

An immigrant who works in Greece cries as he takes part in a demonstration outside the court in the city of Patra on Wednesday, during the trial of a fruit exporter and three foremen arrested last year over a near-deadly shooting attack against migrant laborers.

There was an outcry on Wednesday after the owner of a strawberry farm in the Peloponnese, where 28 migrant workers were shot last year, was cleared of any wrongdoing along with one of his foremen. A court in Patra convicted two other foremen of aggravated assault and illegal use of firearms.

One of the convicted foremen was handed a jail term of 14 years and seven months, while the other received a sentence of eight years and seven months. Both men appealed the court ruling and were freed pending a new trial.

However, it was the decision to acquit the other two men, including the owner of the farm in Nea Manolada, who was accused of human trafficking, that provoked a reaction.

“This is an inhuman, shameful decision,” said the workers’ lawyer, Moisis Karabeidis. “I am ashamed to be Greek.”

Greece’s private sector umbrella union, GSEE, also criticized the court’s decision, saying that it did not send a message that similar practices by other employers would not be tolerated.

SYRIZA noted that the verdict coincided with the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. “The decision... is a disgrace and makes us furious,” said leftist MP Vassiliki Katrivanou.

The foremen opened fire on the migrants with shotguns after the workers demanded six months’ worth of unpaid wages.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday Jul 30, 2014 (23:01)  
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