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have papers. If I file a complaint, I go to jail and they don’t go. Tomorrow

they will let them go and they will keep me in the police station. 153

Indeed, the majority of undocumented migrants we interviewed did not report an attack

to the police. Deeqa Ibrahim, a 19-year-old Somali, explained she did not go to the

police “because lots of people get attacked and the police take them to the hospital

and then don’t do anything. And they would ask for my papers and put me in jail… The

Greek government doesn’t do anything. We are looking for respect. We are looking for a

safe place. If I’d known this would happen, I would have stayed in Somalia.” 154 Ibrahim

had been attacked one night in October 2011 near Victoria Square by five men who hit

her with a bottle. When we asked Saleh Ibrahim, another Somali (unrelated), if he had

gone to the police after he was attacked he replied, “Of course not! Because if I go to

the police I will bring a lot of problems to myself.” 155 Juma Rizzaie, a 26-year-old Afghan

said he didn’t bother reporting his December 2011 attack “because this kind of thing

happens many times and the police just tell people to go and do the same thing back,

so I know they won’t do anything.” 156

Human Rights Watch did not hear of any cases in which an undocumented migrant was

detained following an attempt to report a crime for the sole reason of being in Greece

without legal papers. Yet interviews with one police officer and prosecutors suggested this

was a real possibility. The anonymous police officer we interviewed asserted plainly, “If

someone comes and doesn’t have papers, I cannot let him go.” 157 A senior prosecutor in

Patras argued that the law requires that an undocumented victim of a crime be detained

and deported. 158

First Instance Deputy Prosecutor in Athens George Kaloudis insisted that undocumented

migrants who are the victims of crimes would not be penalized. Acknowledging that in most

cases, “if the victim doesn’t have papers, the police just tell them to go away,” Kaloudis

said the police are obligated to accept an official complaint from an undocumented migrant

153 Human Rights Watch interview with Asif Ali, Athens, December 7, 2011.

154 Human Rights Watch interview with Deeqa Ibrahim, Athens, January 12, 2012.

155 Human Rights Watch interview with Saleh Ibrahim, Athens, December 15, 2011.

156 Human Rights Watch interview with Juma Rizzaie, Athens, January 11, 2012.

157 Human Rights Watch interview with anonymous police officer, Greece, April 16, 2012.

158 Human Rights Watch interview with Dionisia Papdopoulou, senior prosecutor, Patras, December 1, 2011.

HATE ON THE STREETS 80

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