Athens abductions update
/ common sense / abducted /
The case of the abducted Pakistani immigrants by greek and english speaking "secret service" (?) officials this past August, mentioned in a previous post has taken a turn towards the bizarre: Pakistan's interior minister denied that such events took place, in what surely is a case study in illogic:
Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, in Athens to attend a conference on immigration, said Pakistan's ambassador in Greece had received no official complaint regarding the claims.
"So far he has had no response, which means that no such incident has happened," the minister said. "We have a large community of Pakistanis here in Greece, and they are law-abiding citizens."
Well, first of all, the local Pakistani community denies this, and they have actually taken the issue to court in July already, something that might possibly have escaped the ambassador's notice. It is mind-boggling for the ambassador to claim that he was unaware of this case, which was covered by Greek media since August at least, unless he isn't paying much attention...
Along with Jack Straw claiming that the whole thing is "complete nonsense", Greece's minister of Public Order stated that such an case "Never existed, doesn't exist and will never exist for the Greek authorities" pre-empting the official investigation of the events in question by the Justice Ministry, which treats it as a serious case: Athens prosecutor Dimitris Papagelopoulos assures the public that his office "has the guts" to investigate these events thoroughly. The MPO's statements were characterized by Amnesty International as irresponsible. Voulgarakis, the Minister in question went on to declare that:
ÂThese types of accusation are being treated by the Public Order Ministry as possibly suspicious or deliberate,Â Voulgarakis said. ÂThey have the aim of damaging the good atmosphere and security that members of the Pakistani community feel in our country.Â
He added (according to in.gr) that:
[Some aim] to make the [Pakistani Immigrants] feel insecure, hearing about abductions and things that are possibly happening in other countries, so that they might be more easily manipulated... We will not allow the creation of mujahedeen cells in Greece. Our country is, and will remain hospitable and safe..."
... Which can easily be interpreted as a warning to all concerned to shut up or risk being escorted to the next flight for Karachi - or worse.
Eleftherotypia also reports that:
"According to sources 12 Pakistanis have testified (8 with the prosecutor present) and they confirm the content of the complaint while adding a few details about the events. They say that their abductors spoke fluent Greek and that they led them, hooded, to an unknown location after an hour and a half ride.
They also stated that their prison was possibly in a rural setting, as they felt they were walking on rough ground. Their interrogators asked them questions about their relatives in London, about their relationships with others there, without inflicting serious violence although, as they claim, when they didn't respond or didn't cooperate, they pushed their heads down.
During their detention and interrogation, their captors, who when they arrested them claimed to be Greek Police officers, didn't wear a hood so they could recognize them if they saw them again"
The Athens daily "Ta Nea" suggest that the investigations point to the Greek Secret service (EYP), and that Voulgarakis attempted cover-up will lead him to all sorts of political trouble... Conceivably true yet doubtful. There's all sorts of plausible deniability available and a very short attention span on matters concerning immigrants. I hope I'm proven wrong.
[slightly updated version cross-posted to the European Tribune]