Monthly Archives: February 2019

[Lesvos] Moria 8 declared innocent

Moria 8 declared innocent

“Police officers in Mytilene do strange things I cannot understand.”

President of High Court, Chios

After 11 months of unjust detention, the Moria 8 have finally been declared innocent and will be released. On the 22nd of February 2019, they were brought to the High Court in Chios where it took the three judges and the four person jury only an hour and a half to acquit them of all charges.

The eight men were arrested on the 19th of March 2018 and accused of attacking the police and arson during protests in Moria camp five days before. Five of them were kept in detention for eleven months, two in the prison Korydallos and three in the prison on Chios. There was no investigation and the alibis proving the absence of at least two of the accused during the protests were neither taken into account at the pre-hearing directly after the arrest nor at the submitted objections against the detention. None of the 17 police men who were on duty during the protests in the camp had been invited to the pre-hearing and asked to identify any of the accused.

The accusation of the eight men from Syria and Iraq only relied on one testimony of another camp resident. Three months before the trial, the man sent a video to one of the defendants, where he apologizes for making wrong accusations and states that: “I snitched on them falsely because I had problems, I was under threat and I had to leave Mytilini.” When he gave his testimony, the police arranged for him to directly leave to the mainland.

The president of the High Court listened to eleven testimonies from the 17 police officers who all claimed that they were unable to recognize any of the defendants. She did not even ask the three defence witnesses to testify. She stated:

“Police officers in Mytilene do strange things I cannot understand. They took people to prison because of one testimony that does not justify this. Every now and then, they send people to the High Court without any reason. There is no case. The police departments in Mytilene should coordinate better. If there is something happening, you should investigate.”

It was the same judge who had convicted 32 men of the group of the Moria 35 one year before, although there was no reliable evidence.

Vici Angelidou, the lawyer of four of the accused stated:

“The judge and the jury did not even have a meeting in order to take their decision, they looked at each other and made it directly in about ten seconds.”

The judge found clear words for denouncing the injustice happening on Lesvos, where migrants are frequently targeted by police and can be detained up to 18 months without any investigation. Still, the practice of random arrests and legal accusations has not stopped. There will be more court cases against refugees from Lesvos Islands on 28th of February, 9th of May and 10th of October 2019.

We demand the police and the court of Mytilene to stop these crackdowns on refugee protests and the criminalization of people seeking international protection in Greece!


[Harmanli 21] Four stay in prison – the others have asked for repatriation

On the 24th and 25th of October 2018 another court session against the Harmanli 21 took place. The session was attended by seven people out of the 10 people who attended the last court cases. It was reported, that the three missing people have already asked for repatriation and they have returned to Afghanistan. Furthermore three other people out of the seven had as well asked for their repatriation. That means that at the moment four out the initial 21 accused are continuing to stay in the closed facility of Luybimets. They claimed that they will struggle to prove their innocence.

During the two days of the trial in October 30 witnesses of the events from the 24th of November 2016 were testifying. Many of them were representatives of the riot police from Kazanlak, Pleven and Plovdiv and some employees of the State Agency for Refugees (SAR), in particular the ones who are working in the Open Camp of Harmanli. Since now, no accused migrant was allowed to speak about his own perspective. Because of that since the beginning of the trial the police violence was not mentioned once in front of the court. Although the official and appointed defenders (from the state) were shortly asked about it, but they claimed that the accused did not say anything on this topic.

It is interesting to hear that during the quarantine, the camp was totally overcrowded and  it is quite astonishing that the access to the working places of the SAR employees at the open camp in Harmanli was not denied. Neither police members nor SAR workers could identify the accused migrants as part of the group of 50 people who were rioting in November 2016 – out of several thousands who were living there during this moment and protesting peacefully.

Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) notes that it is very obvious that the Bulgarian State is not interested in a clear enlightenment of what happened on the 24th of November 2016. Instead of that people, who once fled their country and once were registered as asylum seekers in Bulgaria, are urged to leave the country ‚voluntarily‘

[Hernals6] Solidarity with the imprisoned Hernals6 in Vienna (Austria)

We from the “You cant evict solidarity”-solidarity-campaign declare our solidarity with the imprisoned and accused Hernals6 in Vienna and demand their release!

From the lager Moria on Lesbos to the deportation prison Hernalser Gürtel in Vienna, people on the move are resisting the racist and inhuman EU-border-regime and its system of deportation and imprisonment. We stand in solidarity with the six people from Hernalser Gürtel that set their cell in fire in September 2018 to protest against their deportation. As the Austrian governments and medias repressive answer is accusation and imprisonment of the protesters in the prison in Vienna, we will not let ourselves be intimidated and call to support the accused in the upcoming trial and resist the inhuman EU-border-regime.

Our passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons!

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