The trial of a baker, his son and two accomplices accused of torturing an Egyptian worker on the island of Salamina in November 2012 was postponed for the fifth time at a Piraeus court on Tuesday.
Judges at Piraeus criminal appeals court rescheduled the trial to 10 March 2015 after the court-appointed interpreter failed to show up, citing “personal reasons”.
On 4 November 2012, Walid Taleb, then 29, was found beaten black and blue on a village street on the island. He had a ring and chain around his neck. He accused his employer, his son and two accomplices of chaining him up and torturing him for 18 hours in a stable.
The four defendants are charged with abduction, robbery, inflicting unprovoked bodily harm and offending sexual dignity.
“‘You will die here and here you will be buried.’ The son told me that his father had a gun and that he would kill me,” Walid told this reporter after his ordeal. He added that he was certain he would never leave the stable alive.
Taleb’s ordeal didn’t end there. Doctors later said there was no need to keep him in hospital, and police took him into custody, detaining him for three nights in a cell with criminal suspects on Salamina and a night in the Athens aliens’ bureau on Petrou Ralli street, where preparations were made to deport him to Egypt. With the help of a lawyer, the Egyptian community managed to secure Taleb’s release from custody four nights after the attack.
A month later, the public order minister announced “for humanitarian reasons not to initiate deportation proceedings” against him. The police, however, have refused to answer questions about why Taleb was arrested and detained in the first place.
According to Taleb’s lawyer, her client has suffered permanent damage to his health as a result of the incident and “is naturally afraid, as a victim of torture”. Attending court reminds him of the painful scenes of violence he endured.
Taleb, who is married and has two young daughters, has been unemployed since the incident.
The lawyer also denied claims that her client was caught stealing from the bakery where he worked, saying that there was no evidence to back them up.
The four defendants, on their part, insist that the Egyptian had stolen €8,000 from the bakery, as well as mobile phone cards. They deny the charges of robbery and offending sexual dignity and only admit to abduction and causing bodily harm.