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Over 20,000 sign petition for Greek trade unionist

A Greek government minister has pledged to secure justice for trade unionist Konstantina Kouneva after 22,000 people signed a petition to support her. Amnesty International handed over 22,000 petitions, calling for justice in the case of Konstantina Kouneva, to the Deputy Minister of the Interior, Hristos Markogiannakis, on Tuesday 5 May. In a meeting with representatives of Amnesty International in Greece, the Deputy Minister committed himself to ensuring that the investigation of the case would be given a high priority and that everything possible would be done to bring the perpetrators to justice. Konstantina Kouneva, a trade union leader, was seriously injured when acid was thrown in her face by unknown assailants on 22 December 2008. The attack followed escalating tension between her and her employers as a result of her trade union activities, pressing for basic rights for workers in the cleaning industry. On various occasions, she criticized the practices used by employers to exploit the workers, many of whom are migrants, including delays in paying their salaries for up to five months and not paying employees' social insurance. The first stage of the investigation into the attack failed to take into account her activities as a trade union leader, while the second stage is reported to have been progressing very slowly. On the same day that the petitions were presented to the Deputy Minister, representatives of Amnesty International also carried out a street theatre action in front of the Katehaki metro station in Athens in support of Konstantina Kouneva.