A 55-year old Greek man is facing charges of attempted murder of two refugees who were allegedly trespassing on his private property.
Originally from the town of Afalonas, the man who was working as a carpenter was slapped with charges in violation of the gun laws and for his attempted murder of two refugees who are residing in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Lesbos island on April 22.
The man claimed that he defended his property from the trespassers by shooting them. Before the incident, he claimed that animals on his land had been stolen.
While none of the bullets hit the victims, two had to be hospitalised to remove shrapnel embedded in their backs from the gunshot.
Dozens of people pledged support as he arrived in court in Mytilene on Monday despite the coronavirus lockdown regulation that bars gatherings of more than 10 people.
The day after his arrest, members of the local community also held a protest supporting him.
The man, who was said to be living an “honourable life” was released on a 1,000-euro bail but he will be required to appear before a judge at a deferred date.
In a testimony shared in the local media, the victims said they were simply walking along the road when they were shot at.
Following the incident, tensions have been brewing over the future of the Moria refugee camp which houses 18,200 people despite its designed capacity of only 2,757, according to government data. There were also calls to evacuate the camp given the deteriorating living conditions.
The government has planned to evacuate some 1,500 refugees due to take place last weekend but was hampered by the coronavirus situation.
North Aegean regional governor Kostas Moutzouris expressed his dismay over the move, saying that the plan was “widely advertised.”
A group of 127 people who arrived on the shores of Lesbos more than a month were transferred to the camp on Sunday, having been living outside with few provisions.
According to Doctors Without Borders, there are 210 people per toilet and more than 630 per shower in some parts of the camp.
An increase of refugee arrivals to Lesbos at the beginning of March led to a wave of vigilante violence directed at refugees, non-government organisation workers as well as journalists.
PHOTO COURTESY: FLICKR