Greece horrified by racist gang rape in school

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The Independent Online

The gang rape of a 16-year-old star pupil in the toilets of her Greek school has sent shock waves through the country.

The basic facts of the case are bad enough: a girl was allegedly raped for an hour by four boys while three girls watched, one of them filming it all on her mobile phone. But what has made headlines here is the reaction to the incident, some of it decidedly racist.

The girl is Bulgarian. Not only have she and her mother had to leave the village where they have lived since 1999 after receiving threats, but the mother says the school is refusing to talk to her, and the girl claims the rape was accompanied by racist insults. The village mayor said that there should be some consideration for the boys "who were upset by all this as well". One of the boys charged is the son of one of the teachers there, while another is the son of a local policeman.

Even the Greek president, Karolos Papoulias, has spoken out on the incident. "Greeks have experienced emigration and racism and we will not impose what we have been through on the immigrants living and working here," he said.In the past 15 years more than one million immigrants, mainly from Eastern Europe, have come to Greece, which has a population of almost 11 million. This is cited as the main reason for racist incidents in schools across Greece.

The four boys have now been charged with rape. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in juvenile centres or in jail.

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