A GREEK court convicted two strawberry farm employees today for shooting and wounding 28 migrant workers protesting about unpaid wages.
However, the farm’s owner and head foreman were cleared.
The shotgun attack happened last year in Manolada, south-west of Athens, where mostly Bangladeshi migrants work, and drew international attention to the often appalling conditions facing migrant labourers on Greek farms.
The Patras court sentenced one man to 14 years and seven months in prison and the other to eight years and seven months.
Both were convicted of aggravated assault and illegal use of firearms, but were freed pending appeal.
Victims’ lawyer Moisis Karabeyidis said he planned to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights at the Hague.
“This decision is an outrage and a disgrace,” he said.
“The court showed an appalling attitude toward the victims.”
About a hundred protesters gathered outside the court, demonstrating against the release of the four defendants.
Several were in tears after the verdict was announced.
Greece’s GSEE trade union said the verdict was “against the public sense of justice and fairness” and argued the farm supervisors should have faced more serious charges.
“To shoot and injure people who dared to ask for six months in unpaid wages cannot be described as mere assault,” the union said.
“We express our dissatisfaction with the acquittal of a businessman and his associates responsible for the mistreatment of 200 workers, mostly from Bangladesh, who live in squalid conditions without rights and had been left unpaid.”