Monthly Archives: April 2018

[PetrouRalli8] Start of trial against PetrouRalli8 in Athens







The trial of 8 from started today in#Athens Many solidarian people in the court present. The 3 police men speak against & accused the 8 . A lot contradiction on the key points among the 3 polices men.

At the end the trial for the has been postponed due to the lack of interpreters. It will continue on 23rd of May. That means almost one month more in prison.

More infos:

[Moria35] Moria 35 Trial Ends in Conviction of 32

Moria 35 Trial Ends in Conviction of 32 – But After 9 Months of Unjust Detention, the 35 will Finally be Free!

PRESS RELEASE by Legal Centre Lesvos (

While all 35 defendants should soon be released from detention, a gross miscarriage of justice took place today at the Mixed Jury Court in Chios, Greece where a ruling of guilty was declared against 32 of the 35 defendants. The 35 were arbitrarily and violently arrested in Moria camp in Lesvos on 18 July 2017 following what started as a peaceful protest outside of an EASO office. This inherently unsafe verdict, reached despite an overwhelming lack of evidence, follows a week long trial which continuously violated fundamental principles of a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and brings into serious question the impartiality of both the Judges and Prosecutor in the case.

Ελληνική έκδοση παρακάτω

32 of the 35 defendants were found guilty of injury to public officials, but acquitted on all other charges. The three individuals detained by a firefighter outside Moria Camp were found innocent of all charges; the testimony against them discredited as inconsistent and lacking credibility as the firefighter misidentified the defendants in court.

While the evidence against the remaining 32 defendants was similarly inconsistent, the three judges and four jurors unanimously found the 32 guilty. This ruling was reached without the prosecutor proving the necessary elements of the crime: there was only evidence of superficial injuries to one police officer, and there was no credible evidence identifying any of the 32 as having assaulted any police officer. Police witnesses testified that all 32 defendants arrested inside Moria Camp were guilty simply because they were present in the African section of the camp after clashes between some migrants and riot police had ended. Confirmation by the court that guilt can be implied by race and location near to where alleged crimes took place sets an extremely dangerous precedent for arrests following riots and protests.

The defense witnesses included residents from Mytilene and Moria Camp, who  confirmed that Moria Camp was never evacuated, that people freely entered and exited the camp throughout the afternoon through back entrances and that the camp was calm for roughly an hour before the arrests took place. Many defendants testified about their participation in the protest calling for freedom of movement from Lesvos to mainland Greece, an end to unjust asylum procedures on the island, and against deplorable conditions in Moria. They explained that police responded violently, dispersing the protestors with excessive use of tear gas. Others testified that they entered Moria camp after it was calm, only to find themselves violently arrested during the police raid. The excessive police violence was confirmed in the trial through medical documentation of injuries to defendants, video evidence of the arrests, and the testimony of several witnesses and defendants. The public prosecutor in Mytilene has already opened an investigation against unknown police officers for causing serious bodily harm to 12 of the 35 defendants.

The trial in Chios was fraught with serious procedural problems, including an absence of interpretation for the majority of the trial and the severely limited time the defendants and defence witnesses were given to present their side of the story.  An International delegation of legal observers were present throughout the trial and will be publishing a report regarding their assessment regarding its fairness in due course.

It defies all logic, despite shocking video footage of police attacks against the defendants; and police witnesses unable to positively identify any of the 35 in court, that 32 were found guilty.

This ruling comes only four days after the 23 April 2018 arrests and criminal charges brought against 122 individuals – mostly Afghan – who had been peacefully protesting in Mytilene and were viciously attacked by fascist militant thugs before being arrested by the police. We are extremely concerned that the decision of the Chios Court will further encourage the State to continue criminalizing those who resist the State’s hostile policies against them.

The guilty verdict has been appealed by the 32, who were given a 26 month suspended prison sentence. This sentence itself is unreasonable as it is 19 months longer than the recommended 7 months proposed by the prosecutor at the conclusion of the proceedings.

As the 32 found guilty are eligible for a suspended prison sentence, the good news is that after nine months of unjust detention awaiting trial, the 35 will finally be freed.

Legal Centre Lesbos – a team of International and Greek Lawyers, Interpreters and Volunteers.  For more info contact or +30 695 507 4724

[Harmanli21] The start of the trial against the Harmanli 21 in Bulgaria

We document a report by Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (

The start of the trial against the Harmanli 21

On the 24th of April 2018, at 13:30, the first hearing of the trial about the riot in the camp took place at the Regional court in Harmanli. At already 13:00, journalists had gathered in front of the court house. Some of them were calling the accused people “21 pieces“, not people but “pieces“. This is showing the level of professionalism and objectivity the topic of migrants is being handled with by some of the media in Bulgaria. As a van arrived, packed with the accused migrants, which were accompanid by officers from the Migration Directorate, some journalists ran to take pictures and videos of the accused migrants.

As one could see many of the accused people felt very unconfortable with this situation and tried to avoid being filmed or photographed. 10 of the accused migrants were present at court. They are currently waiting in the pre-trial detention in the closed camp in Lyubimets. Another 11 accused were missing. Most of the migrants were represented by public defenders and there was no representative from the State Agency of Refugees (SAR).

The trial did not start yet, and the hearing was no longer than 30 minutes. The argument was searching for and sending letters to the 11 missing people, who did not appear. The authorities in Bulgaria are accusing the migrants in the refugee detention center of a damaging different things in the value of about 85,000 Leva (42,000 Euro). The accusations are hooliganism and property destruction.

Most of the accused migrants claimed that they are innocent and were gathered randomly from the camp in Harmanli by the police. As reported before, when the police and gendarmerie entered the rooms at the night night after the alleged riot and brutally beat up migrants in the camp manypeople were sleeping. The media „professionals“ fail to notice and report on this small detail.

The next hearing will be on the 5th of June, 2018 at the Regional court in Harmanli at 13:30.

[Moria35] Start of Trial against the Moria 35+2

Last friday, 20th of April, the trial against the 37 accused of the Moria35+2 case started on Chios (Greece). The accusation has been read and police wittnesses told their version of the story about the day of the police attack in Moria. The trial will continue on thursday, 26th of April, we exspect testimonies by the defendace.

For background information on the Moria35+2 case we can recommend the fgreshly released video on

Unfortunately we dont have so much capacities right now, but we will release a more detailled report on the trial the next days.

Furthermore there are a lot of updates and information to the ongoing trial at Legal Center Lesbos , on the Blog of the Camapaign FreeTheMoria35 and the Blog Musaferat Lesvos, where you find a report on the first day of the trial.

And we would like to remind you that on upcoming Friday, 27th of April 2018, the trial against the Petrou Ralli 8 will start in Athens (Greece). Its a case which has a  lot of parallels to the one against the Moria35+2. You can find more infos here.

Our passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons!

[Greece] Upcoming Trials against the Moria35, Petrou Ralli8 and others in April/May

In the coming weeks there will be 3 trials of migrants protesting inhuman condition in camps and detention centers in Greece (53 migrants in total). Also, a trial against solidarity activists.

We document a solidarity text written by the Balkanroute Network Meeting in Zagreb in March 2018.

Balkanroute Network Solidarity text –
Greece: “borders within borders” and long-term detention

The camps in Greek islands are officially militarized and operate under “prison” rules, always with the cooperation of police, army, judicial authorities and NGOs. In this way, better management of the immigrant population is achieved: strict control of the detained, as well as disciplining those who are “free” (though trapped in the Greek territory) under the threat of imprisonment. In mainland Greece, a basic pillar of migrant management is the concept of administrative detention, a totally vague framework of detention, in which the prisoner does not even know how long (s)he will be detained. So (s)he wakes up every morning hoping that (s)he will be freed, and sleeps every night with the burden of another day in the cage. When detained migrants dare to make even the smallest protest, for example asking for information about the reason and the length of their detention, the State’s response is relentless but organized and deliberate. This is evidenced both by the fabricated charges against the “Petrou Ralli 8” and by the almost simultaneous arrest of the 35 migrants in the camp of Moria, charged for similar felonies, after facing the same repression: fierce beating and random arrests, in short subjects of the same central political decision.

The Petrou Ralli 8

On May 31, 2017, at the Attica Aliens Police Directorate, the infamous Petrou Ralli pre-removal detention centre, 8 immigrants were arrested after they were attacked by police inside their very cells. The reason for the police attack was that detained migrants were asking to contact the head of the detention centre, in order to be informed for how long they would be held there, as they had already been 8 to 10 months in detention. Police response to this simple request was to heavily beat them. As a result, the eight were transferred to hospital with  heavy injuries on their heads and broken hands. Police, in order to cover up the beating, immediately filed a case against them. According to the fabricated evidence, the migrants attacked police officers with “improvised razor blades and phone cards” and there has been an “escalation of tension” for “forty minutes”. It is even supposed that during this time, the prisoners tried to escape by hitting themselves on the central door of their cellblock, in order to break it, and that, supposedly, in their attempt to “flee”, they slipped and got injured on their own. Immigrants for their part argue that the cops invaded the cells unprovoked and started beating anyone they found in front of them. The Petrou Ralli 8 migrants are imprisoned in 6 different prisons, all over the country: Volos, Nigrita Serres, Domokos, Malandrino, Nafplio, and Chania. Their trial will take place on April 27, 2018, in Athens.

Moria Unaccompanied Minors’ Section – November 20, 2017 Revolt

At the southern entrance of the hot spot at Moria is the section of unaccompanied minors with a capacity of about 200 youngsters. In this, under the supervision of cops and NGOs, about 300 children are awaiting their transfer to some hostels in the city of Mytilene or in mainland Greece. However, due to insufficient capacity, many minors are forced to sleep outside the section, which poses serious issues for their safety. Questions also arise regarding the methods of recognizing the “childhood” of many children, with arbitrary methods of age verification used (e.g. dental examinations), which eventually exclude a large proportion of them who are registered as adults. Following the April 2016 protests and riots in Moria, minors from this “secured” section have ensured that they can come in and out from it by using an identification card. However, their entrapment on the island, and the accumulated pressure they feel often leads to reactions. The culmination of these reactions was the small revolt that took place at dawn on Monday 20th November 2017. About 300 minors, during a three-hour period, attacked and broke down whatever reminded them of the condition of devaluation that they are experiencing. The cops arrested 7 of them with charges of arson, disruption of common peace, provocation of pronounced damage, attempted bodily harm, and resistance. Seven of the minors went through a prosecutor and faced restrictive conditions. At the same time, however, a special penitentiary regime operates within the wing by the administration of the center. Minors who have “created problems” within the ward are expelled from the director of Moria’s detention center and are forced to stay in the hot spot among adults. For the housing of unaccompanied minors, but also for minors under 13, a new safe zone has been created since the end of November 2017 on the northern side of the center but has not yet been put into operation.

Moria 35+2

On Tuesday, July 18 2017, protesting migrants left the Moria camp to block the main street outside. While shouting slogans outside the camp, polices forces from inside as well as outside the detention centre attacked them with stones, teargas and stun grenades.
The migrants responded by throwing rocks back at the police and starting small fires. After the conflict, the interior of the detention centre had returned to “normality”, yet police forces started a purge inside Moria. The migrants had to face the menace of the riot police, who stormed house-containers, beating anyone indiscriminately until finally arresting 35 people at random. Their sole criterion was skin colour, since they were targeting people of African descent.
Two more people were arrested in August and a new case file was drawn up for the July 10, 2017, riots in Moria (another protest, that took place one week before the Moria 35 case). Their trial will take place on May 11 2018.
In January 2018, preliminary investigation for the Moria 35 was completed. Thirty of the persecuted immigrants continue to be jailed in four different prisons in the country (Korydallos, Avlona, Chios, Malandrino), with their custody being extended for another 6 months after a new decision by the judicial council of Mytilene.
The 35 accused are facing serious charges, many years of imprisonment and exclusion from the asylum process. More specifically, they are charged for:
1. Arson by intent from which a hazard may arise for a person, jointly.
2. Dangerous physical harm, attempted as well as executed to the detriment of police and fire brigade officers, jointly and repeatedly.
3. Damage in form of arson of foreign ownership and of an object that serves a common benefit, jointly and repeatedly.
4. Resistance performed by more than one person, who had their faces covered and carried potentially dangerous objects.
The trial of Moria 35 will take place on April 20 on Chios island.

Finally, solidarity is also criminalized, as 3 members of the former No Lager assembly will go on trial on April 23, 2018, in Drama, Greece, accused of “provoking a felony” because of their participation in solidarity visits to the detention center of Paranesti in the Spring of 2015, during a hunger strike of migrants detained there. The 3 (Greek) activists are not facing heavy charges, as the Moria and Petrou Ralli migrants do, but the criminalization of solidarity is quite serious by itself.

Solidarity with Moria and Petrou Ralli detained and prosecuted migrants!

End detention regime!

Open the islands!

An Overview about the upcoming dates:

Trial of the Moria 35: April 20, Chios island.
Trial of No Lager 3: April 23, Courthouse of Drama
Trial of Petrou Ralli 8: April 27, Athens
Trial for the July 10 (2017) riots in Moria: May 11, 2018.

A transnational solidarity week has been called: Saturday April 14 to Friday April 20

[Bulgaria] Start of trial against Harmanli21 on 24th of April

The Harmanli local district court had scheduled the court hearing against 21 Afghans, who are accused of taking part in the riot in November 2016 to start on 24th of April 2018 in Harmanli, Bulgaria.

After the riot, that broke out following a protest against quarantine measures, inhabitants of the camp Harmanli (Bulgaria) accused the gendarmerie of using brutal violence. They publicly stated that the gendarmerie stormed houses while some people were sleeping, who had nothing to do with the riot. Pictures with many injuries were shared by the asylum seekers.

The court hearing will take place on the 24th of April 2018 in Rayonen Sad – Harmanli (РАЙОНЕН СЪД) at Yanko Sakazov Street 1, 6450 Tsentar, Harmanli, starting at 1.30 pm.

Show your Solidarity!