This post is comprised of a translation of an interview with a group of Iranian refugees in Greece, two of whom were viciously beaten by racist Greek gangs on 12 May 2011. Thus far, no action has been taken by the Greek authorities or by UNHCR in response to these brutal beatings in which thugs were armed with metal and wooden batons, as well as brass knuckles, for the sole purpose of attacking refugees. At this point in time, one 21-year-old migrant from Bangladesh has been reported as being stabbed to death by the same group of thugs. Mission Free Iran condemns in the strongest possible terms these racist, fascist attacks on refugees, as well as the criminal non-response by the Greek authorities. We urge activists worldwide to join in organized action against these murderous politics.
Translation by Afshin Azizian appears below the clip of the interview with the Iranian refugees; below the translation is a video clip showing the attacks as they happened.
“A New Picture of Human Rights in Greece…”
Interviewer: “You are seeing several Iranians who have been beat up by fascists gangs in Greece. They have been injured, and some of them have had their noses broken or been injured on other parts of their body.
We had brought these guys to UNHCR, so that they could to explain to them [UNHCR] about the reasons for their injuries; as you can see on this video, one of them is here with a broken nose.
These things have been happening here for a while. Some people have been injured, and some, of other nationalities, have even been killed. Now these guys have to be transferred to the hospital to get treatment.”
Another speaker [to the man with the broken nose]: “Can you briefly explain what has happened to you?”
Young man with broken nose: “It was about 9:30 or 10:00 when I was passing by. I saw a crowd and I thought there was a demonstration – I didn’t know what was going on, so I went to look, and suddenly they approached me and started beating me up non-stop. I was beaten badly – in every possible way they beat me.”
Older man [angrily]: “Well this is the situation of us being refugees in Greece. There are some of our guys who are here for 7-8 years who have been given a red card which has no credibility and is not valid, just something like an identity card which has no value, no credit or meaning.” Pointing his finger towards UNHCR’s Greek Council for Refugees, he says, “This is where they are supposed to support us, but where do they support? They don’t.”
Young man with broken nose: “If we wanted to be beaten up, we could have stayed in Iran and been beaten up there as we were. We came here so we would not be beaten, but here the same thing is happening to us. Why would we come here if we wanted to be beaten again?”
Older man: “Where are human rights? Who is responsible for the refugees? Nothing. No one.”
Interviewer [regarding young man with an injured head]: “This is another Iranian refugee whose head has been broken. This guy has been beaten by racist groups, and as you can see, looking at his head, you can see the true picture of human rights in Greece.”
Other speakers [to the man with the injured head]: Could you briefly explain the incident?
Man with the injured head: “Yesterday I was in [unintelligible (place name)], I was there, and I saw agroup of ppl maybe 40 or 50 – they were carrying metal batons and wood, and they were armed with brass knuckles on their hands. There were about 5-6 of them, they got me, and they beat me with the wood non-stop – they beat me in many ways.”
(His has received 10 stitches to close the wound on his head.)
“At the time that I was beaten, about 5-6 others were injured, I think about 2-3 of them were Iranian, but I’m not sure because he was getting beaten.”
Other speaker [to the man with the injured head]: Did you get any treatment?
Man with the injured head: “No they didn’t care much, and there was no ambulance coming.”
Other speakers: “Do you know about refugees of any other nationalities who were beaten?”
Man with the injured head: “I don’t know, I have heard of one Bangladeshi killed, 2 Pakistanis injured… the way I have heard it is that one Iranian is in critical condition as well.”
Other speaker: “With the way things are going, to you think that these attacks will continue?”
Man with the injured head: “I am 100 percent certain that this will continue, and I believe that it has been coordinated with the police.”
Other speaker: “Did the police get involved?”
Man with the injured head: “After the incident, they came and stayed there for 15 minutes and then they left.”
Other man, interrupting angrily [speaking to both injured young men]: “I am really sorry, I know you are in bad condition and not in a way that you can talk to me, but I have only one question.” [Pointing his finger at the sign above the door at UNHCR’s Greek Council for Refugees] “Now you are in front of this door, have you got any help from these people?”
Both injured young men respond, “No.”
“Why don’t they close this building, because it doesn’t do anything.”
Below is a video clip showing racist, anti-immigrant Greek gangs attacking migrants and refugees in the streets of Athens on 12 May 2011. It is telling that the Greek flag on a wooden stick is used to beat a person on the street deemed to be a migant by these fascist thugs.