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A new racially motivated murder of an immigrant

18 January 2013 / 20:01:32  GRReporter
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27-year-old Pakistani citizen Sahdzhat Loukman is the latest victim of a racist attack in Athens. The young man died as a result of a blow with a sharp object to the head, caused by two attackers.

After the attack, they escaped on their motorcycle, but were later arrested after a signal from a taxi driver in Syntagma Square. Subsequently, in the house of one of the attackers, the police discovered 50 election leaflets of the xenophobic party Golden Dawn.

According to sources, the detainees claimed to have attacked the Pakistani citizen because he was riding his bike and prevented them from going on with their motorcycle. They added that he even opposed them when they made a remark.

Currently, they are under detention in the main police station in Athens and will give testimony before the prosecutor on Sunday.

The attackers are old acquaintances of the police. In 2007, they were charged with shoplifting in a clothing store. However, the criminal record of one of them remained "clean" and, in 2008, he managed to submit his application and was appointed as a fire-fighter a year later.

SYRIZA identified the attack as racist and criticised the police and the Ministry of Public Order for doing nothing to stop the "gang of fascists-murderers who walk carelessly in the streets of Athens and kill defenceless people."

The press office of the Ministry said that the Socialist party wants to use the murder in order to draw political dividends.

At the same time, the police in Athens managed to break up an international network for illegal immigrants smuggling. According to authorities, those involved in the network transported by boats a large number of illegal immigrants from Turkey to Greece and then to Italy.

In parallel police actions in Athens and Rhodes, a total of 14 people were arrested, including the one who was suspected to be the "leader" and "economic head" of the network. 14 other people involved are being sought by Interpol and Europol in Turkey, Belgium and Germany.

Network members gathered the immigrants who wanted to enter Greece illegally in Istanbul and Izmir, and then transported them to the Turkish coast of the Aegean Sea. From there, they were transported by own or rented boats both to the islands of Rhodes, Kos and Mytilene and to regions of mainland Greece.

Similarly, participants in the network from Athens gathered immigrants who wanted to leave the country illegally in the region of Attica, and then transported them by TIR trucks to the coastal regions of western Greece. From there, they left for Italy, again by boats.

They determined the cost for their services depending on the route, final destination and age of the immigrants. Tariffs started from 1,200 euro per person to one of the islands, and reached 2,500 euro for those who wanted to arrive in Athens. For children, the price was cut by half.

Eight of the arrested members of the network are Greeks, five are Syrians and one is Iraqi. The two "leaders" are Syrians, and the one who was in charge of the means of transport the smugglers used is Greek.

During the investigation, authorities discovered a large number of mobile phones and SIM-cards, sea maps with routes marked on them, navigation devices and five passports. 20,000 euro, two cars, equipment and materials to produce counterfeit passports, which were discovered in the home of one of the smugglers in the Athens suburb Egaleo, were confiscated.

At the port of Aigio, a sailboat under the flag of Lebanon was discovered, which was under repair. The smugglers planned to use it in order to transport large numbers of immigrants to Sicily. Another one was discovered and three more boats are being sought, which are related to the activity of the network.

At the same time, the police in Crete prevented the transportation of 77 illegal immigrants. Early in the morning on Friday, immigration authorities discovered the immigrants in the region of Stomio, near Elafonisi, as they were about to board the boat. The police were informed by a fisherman who was passing nearby. There were also women and children among the immigrants.

The immigrants were taken to the police station in the city of Chania, so that their identity could be determined. Most of them stated that their goal was to reach Italy.

On 28 January, President of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance of the Council of Europe, Niels Muznieks, is expected to visit Athens. He will visit prisons, mental hospitals, detention centres for immigrants and refugees and meet with ministers and representatives of non-governmental and anti-racist organisations.

On Saturday, in Athens, an anti-racist protest will be held, under the motto "Athens - a city without fascists", the dynamics of which is expected to become even stronger after the assassination of the Pakistani citizen.

Tags: Crime news immigrant smuggling racist attack protest
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