Man awaits surgery 10 days after suffering broken jaw in racist attack

Evangelismos hospital gives series of excuses for not admitting 34 year old Pakistani man to surgery

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Ten days after he was left with a broken jaw in a racist attack on August 2 in Athens, 34-year-old Safraz Malik has not yet been operated on in Evangelismos hospital. He has been unable to eat since the attack

Safraz Malik, a day after the racist attack that left him with a broken jaw (Photo: Katja Lihtenvalner) Safraz Malik, a day after the racist attack that left him with a broken jaw (Photo: Katja Lihtenvalner) Update: Malik went into surgery on August 19, 18 days after the attack. 

A Pakistani man who suffered a broken jaw when he was beaten in a incident bearing all the hallmarks of a racist attack has spent ten days in hospital without being operated on.

Safraz Malik, 34, was left in huge pain in the August 2 attack, when he was set upon by a group of men in the Galatsi district in central Athens at around 2am.

Despite his serious injuries – apart from a broken jaw, he was left with bruises all over his body – he has not yet been operated on in Evangelismos hospital. He has been unable to eat since the attack.

Katja Lihtenvalner, a Slovenian journalist who has been following Malik's case from the outset, says the hospital authorities presented various excuses for failing to operate on the man.

"They first said that he had no health insurance, but his brother made all the necessary payments immediately after the attack. Then, surgery was being postponed on a daily basis, for different reasons. Then we were told it was a weekend, so it couldn't happen. And now Malik has developed a fever – a consequence of his injuries – which is being given as another reason not to operate."

She says that her appeals for help to the hospital authorities, the Pakistani community – which first alerted her to the incident – and to antiracist groups to get Malik into surgery have been fruitless. She also bemoans the apparent disinterest of the Greek media in Malik's case, who she says was the victim of a "very well organised racist attack".

A kitchen employee, Malik was returning home from work on a public bus when a fellow passenger, whom he had noticed the previous night observing him on the same bus, struck up a conversation with him. Among others, the man asked him where he was from and whether he'd ever been attacked by Golden Dawn. Malik was also asked if he knew Shehzad Luqman, a Pakistani man murdered in Athens in January 2013 by two men associated with Golden Dawn.

When they got off at their stop, the man asked Malik to wait while he made a telephone call, telling him that he had some people who wanted to meet him.

Very quickly, four individuals appeared on the scene, dragged Malik to a spot close to the nearby Gravas school on Resis street, where they proceeded to beat him. Lihtenvalner says that parts of the attack were captured by the security camera of a nearby business – a well-known production company – but she fears that police failed to secure the recordings as evidence. She believes the tapes have now been erased.

Another attack

The Slovenian journalist said that five days after the attack on the Pakistani national, an Iranian man was stabbed a dozen times by two assailants who were passengers on a large motorbike driven by a third individual.

The victim, Ashkan Nedjefi, 28, was collecting recyclable material from dumpsters when he was set upon at 5am on August 7 on Kerkinis, a residential street near Alexandras Avenue.

The two assailants got off the motorbike while the third waited. After asking – and being told – where he was from, he was stabbed twelve times with a butterfly knife. The men said nothing during the incident.

Most of his wounds were to the stomach, but he received three blows close to his heart. He was hospitalised for a day after the attack, before being released.

The incident was all the more shocking given its location, Lihtenvalner points out. "It happened in a small street behind very close to the Supreme Court building, the Attica police headquarters and two large hospitals." 

Arson attack

Meanwhile, it was announced on Tuesday that police are investigating an arson attack on a house near an old factory building in Patras, used as a temporary shelter by undocumented migrants.

Unidentified culprits firebombed the house at dawn on Monday and the explosion that followed awakened people living in the area who called the fire department. The fire was extinguished within a few minutes before spreading.

Police are not ruling out racial motive for the attack. In recent months, undocumented migrants have found shelter in abandoned buildings in the port city, where they live in sordid conditions, in their daily attempt to cross to Italy by hiding in trucks boarding ferries.

Last week, the New York Times published an article on the migrants living in an abandoned furniture factory in Patras. 

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