Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou ordered an investigation on Tuesday 7 November into last week’s attack on the home of an 11-year-old Afghan boy in the Athens suburb of Dafni.
Amir was chosen to carry the Greek flag at an Ochi Day parade in Athens, but became a target for attack after the selection. A previously unknown group calling itself Krypteia claimed responsibility for the attack.
Amir lived with his family, in an apartment provided by the City of Athens together with the UN High Commission for Refugees, under the auspices of a cooperation scheme of the two actors. However, on Friday their apartment was attacked by individuals who broke the windows of the apartment with stones and left a sign saying: “Go back to your village. Leave.”
The assault — believed to be the first hate crime against a child migrant — has sparked an angry response from humanitarian groups concerned about the increasing rate of attacks on asylum seekers. “Such an attack against people escaping from violence cannot be tolerated and it should be punished,” said Philippe Leclerc, who represents the UN refugee agency in Greece.
Moreover, the attack on Amir has inspired a nationwide debate over whether refugees stuck in Greece should be afforded the same rights as local citizens while their applications to settle elsewhere in Europe are processed.
“My sister and I were sleeping,” Amir told Greek media. “The rocks and beer bottles fell next to our beds,” he told one interviewer. “I didn’t know what to think. My mother was in another room. I panicked. We cried. I am still scared,” he added.
Intelligence experts contacted by The Times further noted their suspicions that Crypteia was a violent offshoot of nationalist, far-right party Golden Dawn. Despite efforts by the state to dismantle the group, the Hellenic League for Human Rights said recently that after years of inaction Golden Dawn was again “recruiting and training anti-migrant hit squads.”
The police are treating the attack on the family as a hate crime and say they have recorded 75 such incidents between January and June. Campaigners say the number is far higher, underscoring the tensions in Greece as the country struggles to integrate 60,000 asylum seekers.