An undocumented Egyptian immigrant said he was both arrested by Greek police and ignored by physicians after being beaten by his employers for 18 hours.
According to The Irish Times, Walid Taleb was abruptly fired from his job at a bakery on the island of Salamina, Greece, Nov. 3, then beaten when he asked for two months’ worth of wages he was owed. When his employers discovered €12,000 in his pocket, he said, he was tied up, forced into a car and driven to a nearby stable, where he was told, “You will die here and here you will be buried,” before he was beaten in shifts by the bakery’s owner, his son and one more unidentified man.
Taleb said he escaped the next day to a gas station, where witnesses called police. However, he was denied medical care before being arrested and threatened with deportation before a local lawyer secured his release Nov. 7.
The bakery owner, Yiorgos Sgourdos, a former local attorney and member of the conservative New Democracy party, and the other alleged attackers were arrested and released on “restrictive bail terms.” They are accused of robbery, abduction and grievous bodily harm and illegally employing an immigrant and face jail sentences of at least 10 years each.
“If this happened to a Greek in Egypt, what would the reaction of the Greek government have been?” Taleb said.
The alleged attack on Taleb comes amid a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in Greece, where police reportedly have handed some immigrant-related cases to members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, who serve as “protectors” in some towns.
Earlier this year, Al-Jazeera reported that authorities are taking stricter measures against undocumented immigrants to appease to that sentiment, including one program where deportees are flown back to their native countries with a $400 stipend as incentive.
Ahram Online reported that Greek President Karolos Papoulias apologized to his Egyptian counterpart, Mohammed Morsi, on Monday for the increase in anti-immigrant attacks.
Watch Al-Jazeera’s report from earlier this year on the police crackdown on immigrants below.