Europe

Greece farm shooting: Migrants win damages from state

Migrant workers recover from gunshot wounds in makeshift housing at a strawberry plantation near the village of Nea Manolada, Greece, 18 April, 2013 Image copyright AP
Image caption Migrant workers recover from gunshot wounds at a plantation near the village of Nea Manolada, 2013

A group of strawberry pickers from Bangladesh who were shot at by their employer in Greece after demanding pay have won a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The court ruled on Thursday that Greece had "failed in its obligations" to "protect the victims".

The state has been ordered to pay damages of €12,000-16,000 (£10,000-£14,000) each.

More than 20 Bangladeshi nationals were injured in the incident in 2013.

It happened after about 200 migrant workers gathered on the farm near the southern Greek town of Nea Manolada, 260km (160 miles) west of Athens, to request their unpaid salaries.

At least two farm supervisors opened fire on the workers.

The ECHR said that the Greek state had not done enough to "prevent the situation of human trafficking" in the country.

In a separate incident on Thursday, a 29-year old Syrian man is reported to have set himself on fire at a migrant camp on the Greek island of Chios.

Medical officials said the man suffered severe burns and was being transferred by air to an Athens hospital for further treatment, local media report.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Greece has been ordered to pay damages for "failing to protect" migrant workers

The ECHR case involving the Bangladeshi nationals was launched after two members of staff convicted over the shooting in a Greek court were released pending their appeal.

"The Greek court's acquittal of the farmers for the crime of forced labour was a great disappointment to us," said Morsed Chowdury, a migrant worker and the lead applicant in the ECHR case.

"We hope that the Greek government will learn from our experiences and recognise our important role in the Greek economy," he added.

Nea Manolada in Greece has previously been in the spotlight over exploitation of migrants.

In 2008 workers staged a strike against inhumane conditions. There have also been reports of previous attacks.

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