Call for probe into migrant’s death

The row between the police and migrant and human rights groups over the death of a Pakistani man near central Athens on Saturday night shows no sign of abating, as the former claim the latter are making false allegations about the involvement of officers in the incident. Police sources told Kathimerini that the force would seek legal action against the organizations, which claim the Pakistani, who has not been named, fell into a large ditch and died after being chased by officers. The police maintain that the 29-year-old migrant had approached the ditch in Votanikos to relieve himself but slipped and fell. Officers said a witness has confirmed this. However, the Stop the War Coalition and the Pakistani Community in Greece are also asking a prosecutor to investigate the 29-year-old’s death, as they claim he was chased by officers after migrants began to gather outside the Aliens Bureau on Petrou Ralli Street on Saturday night in order to be first in line to submit asylum applications on Sunday. «Last year, asylum was only granted to eight people even though there were more than 20,000 applications,» Stop the War Coalition spokesman Petros Constantinou told Kathimerini. «Now, as this tragic incident shows, we see that people do not even have the chance to apply for asylum since they are beaten and chased by the police.» The head of the Pakistani Community, Javed Aslam, claims that officers used violent methods to keep back migrants from the Aliens Bureau in clashes that allegedly began on Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning. «From Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning, the police chased migrants three times,» said Aslam. «We have more than 15 serious injuries and at least 40 slight injuries.»