Investigation after migrant loses ear in 'attack'

2014-01-16 22:00
Supporters of the extreme far-right Golden Dawn party hold Greek national flags during a protest in solidarity in front of the headquarters of Greek Police, in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis, AP)

Supporters of the extreme far-right Golden Dawn party hold Greek national flags during a protest in solidarity in front of the headquarters of Greek Police, in Athens. (Kostas Tsironis, AP)

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Athens - Greek authorities are looking for any possible racist motives in a three-man attack on an Iranian migrant in which his ear was bitten off, a justice source said on Thursday.

The 34-year-old victim, identified only as 'Said', says he was assaulted by three dark-clothed men in October while in a run-down Athens neighbourhood.

"I was walking on the street and talking on the phone when three men dressed in black attacked me. They hit me," the Iranian told the Greek branch of Doctors of the World in a video posted online.

"One of them put me in a headlock and severed my ear with his teeth," he added.

Street attacks on migrants spiked in 2012 following the election to parliament of Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party pledging to rid the country of hundreds of thousands of illegal residents.

However, the trend abated after a Greek musician was fatally stabbed by a neo-Nazi supporter last year, prompting a crackdown that has put a third of the party's 18 lawmakers behind bars.

Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos and other senior party members are in prison awaiting trial for allegedly orchestrating attacks on migrants and political opponents.

Nikitas Kanakis, head of Greece's Doctors of the World branch, told AFP that the organisation had not publicised the Iranian's beating in October so as not to influence the investigation.

He added that racist-related attacks are "greatly reduced" since the crackdown against Golden Dawn began.

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