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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.

Greeces private sector umbrella union, GSEE, also criticized the courts 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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