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GreekReporter.comGreeceTrial on Assault Against Afghani Asylum Seeker Begins

Trial on Assault Against Afghani Asylum Seeker Begins

The trial of the two men and one woman accused of brutally beating and stabbing Ali Rahimi, a 24-year-old asylum seeker, in Athens on September 16, has begun on December 12. This will be the first trail since 1999 condemning racist attacks and violence.
According to Human Rights Watch, racist violence in Greece is on the rise and “has reached alarming proportions in 2011”
The racist incident against Rahimi had occurred last September in the Agios Panteleimonas neighborhood of Athens, when approximately 15 people surrounded Rahimi and two other Afghans.
“The prosecution of this vicious attack sends an important message, but it is the tip of the iceberg,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “If the authorities responded properly to racist violence, this trial would be one of many instead of a rarity.”
However, this is not the only case of racist attacks.
Alone in the first three months of 2011, 60 Pakistani men were attacked, reported the Pakistani Community of Greece. In April, the Somali community center of Athens was attacked, leaving 10 injured Somalis and a destroyed nuilding, while in May a man from Bangladesh was found dead, but it remained unclear whether he had been a victim of a hate crime.
Far-right extremists are gaining ground in recession-hit Greece, while police are unable to prosecute or identify the attackers and discourages racist victims by having to pay 100 Euros for filing an official complaint.
The country is currently facing serious financial problems causing social and political turmoil across Greece. In the past two decade, the illegal immigration problem has gotten worse for Greece, which lacks proper laws and deficient system to shelter and host asylum seekers and immigrants within its borders.
The Greek government proposed on December 6 a draft measure to tighten Greek laws on hate speech, in order for it to comply with the respective European Union laws.
“There is no excuse for allowing people to be chased, beaten, and stabbed because of where they come from or how they look,” Sunderland said. “Greek authorities need to crack down on vigilante groups now.”

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