Amnesty International: Court must consider hate motive behind attack on Romani woman
The court in Messolonghy, Western Greece, recognizes racial motivations in the brutal attack that two Romani people, Paraskevi Kokoni and her nephew Kostas, who has a learning disability, have been subjected to in October 2012.
As Paraskevi told to Amnesty International, she was passing the main square in Etoliko with her nephew when a man sitted in a bar recognized her as the local Roma leader's sister in law and, with other 6 or 7 people, attacked and started to punch, kick and beat them with logs.
This one could be included in the several cases of racist raids against Roma families in the same town between August 2012 and January 2013, which obliged many of them to leave theyr homes and escape from this intimidatory and violent situation, in which a lot of dwellings were burned.
“Justice for Paraskevi and her nephew has been slow in coming. It won’t be full if the court does not take into account the strong evidence of the racist motive behind the attack: something that the police conspicuously ignored during the investigation. The court must fully recognize the hate intent behind the assault in considering this case – that will send a strong message that racism and discrimination will not be tolerated and will help protect Roma people across Greece from further attacks ” said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Acting Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.
It's a long time that legal provisions in Greece are complying the courts to consider racist and xenophobic motives with approprite gravity but, in most of the situations, investigators don't hold to be true these kind of motivations and prosecutors could rarely prove them during the processes.
“The Greek criminal justice system is failing to take hate crimes seriously. This needs to change. Police, prosecutors and judges must be made aware of their obligations to investigate hate crimes diligently and ensure that they are punished,” said Fotis Filippou.
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