Supreme court upholds disgraceful ruling clearing farmers who shot unpaid Bangladeshi strawberry pickers
Deputy prosecutor decides there are no legal grounds to review the decision by a Patras court in July which acquitted the farmers and had sparked outrage at home and abroad.
Greece’s supreme court has upheld a decision by a jury court of appeals in the city of Patras to acquit the farmers who opened fire, last year, on 28 unpaid Bangladeshi strawberry pickers, seriously wounding four of them.
Deputy public prosecutor Konstantinos Paraskevaidis ruled there was no legal basis for a retrial of two of the four farmers implicated in the shooting and that they will not stand trial again. The decision came after Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani had requested a review of the original decision.
The incident in question took place in the farm town of Manolada, Southern Greece in 2013, when the Bangladeshi strawberry pickers refused to keep working unless they were paid salaries they were owed. Instead of receiving their money, they came under a hail of fire.
The trial took place in the summer of 2014 in Patras where a panel of judges and jurors unanimously decided that the farm owner and one of his superintendents should be cleared of all charges. The other two farmers were found guilty of grievous bodily harm and complicity and were handed suspended sentences of 14 and 7 years respectively. They will stand another trial after both lodged an appeal.
The ruling had sparked outrage in Greece and abroad, and human right groups dubbed the decision a ‘racist scandal’. The victims lawyer Moisis Karabeyidis, who felt ‘ashamed as a Greek’, said at the time that he would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.