Magistrate probing police response to migrant attacks

An Athens magistrate on Friday was to launch an investigation into the handling by a group of police officers of an alleged attack against a group of Pakistani migrants that is believed to be racially motivated.

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias instructed the chief of the Greek Police, Lieutenant Major Nikolaos Papayiannopoulos, to submit to the magistrate the video testimony of a Pakistani man who claims that he and a group of his compatriots were mistreated by police officers called in response to a racially-motivated attack against them.

The video contains the statement of Nazeen Mahmud, a Pakistani national who has lived in Greece for the past 11 years and is an anti-racism activist, who was also interviewed by a state television news program on Friday morning. Mahmud claims that he and several other compatriots were attacked in their homes in the western Athenian suburb of Peristeri in July by a group of around five young men who targeted their homes, breaking down their doors, smashing their belongings and beating them, while verbally abusing them with racist slurs and threats. Mahmud told the state broadcaster that he notified the police of the attacks, but that when they arrived at the scene they arrested three of the alleged victims, including himself, rather than chasing down the attackers, who had been described by the victims. He also said that police officers used force against another one of the victims to prevent him from pressing charges.

The magistrate will be investigating the claims.

The Public Order Ministry has come under fire from human rights groups for not taking more drastic measures to prevent a spike in attacks against migrants in Greece over the past few months.

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