Category Archives: General

[Greece] Solidarity statement: Freedom for Hamza & Mohamed

first published on https://www.borderline-europe.de/unsere-arbeit/gemeinsames-solidarit%C3%A4tsstatement:

Solidarity statement: Freedom for Hamza & Mohamed

The European Union must stop the arbitrary incarceration of refugees and migrants

We express our solidarity with Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar who are currently being held in pre-trial detention in Komotini, Greece. Both are facing long prison sentences because they are being wrongfully and arbitrarily accused of “smuggling”.

Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar are Moroccan citizens who fled their country searching for protection and better living conditions, Hamza Haddi in particular is a known political activist who was hoping to be granted political asylum in Europe. In Morocco, he is facing political persecution for his activities during the Arab Spring as well as for his engagement with the Moroccan Human Rights Association L’Association Marocaine Des Droits Humains AMDH. He has been imprisoned three times and, together with his family, been constantly targeted and intimidated by Moroccan authorities. Hamza is a political refugee.

With Europe’s ever-increasing closure of borders and the impossibility for refugees to legally enter Europe and claim asylum, they were forced to embark and risk their lives on a makeshift boat. Hamza, who had fled from Morocco together with his brother Yassine went on to meet two companions on the way; Reda and Mohamed in Turkey. There, they spent only a few days before attempting to cross the Evros river that marks the border between Turkey and Greece in July 2019.

In Greece, the four arrived, only to be immediately arrested by Greek border police. But not enough. Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar are now accused of and are facing trial for the “smuggling” of two persons – one of them being Hamza’s own brother Yassine!

The accusations against Hamza and Mohamed are clearly unfounded. They are refugees, not smugglers.

Their companion Reda was coerced into signing a testimony that is now being used to wrongly accuse Hamza and Mohamed as being the smugglers. Reda can neither speak nor read Greek and later confirmed that the written document does not match his statement.

Consequently since July 2019, Hamza and Mohamed have been held in pre-trial detention in Greece and are facing more than ten years of imprisonment each. The basis of their trail is placed upon a testimony signed under pressure and without an interpreter.

We are calling for their immediate release!

The case of Hamza and Mohamed is unfortunately not an isolated case but paradigmatic for yet another facet of Europe’s policy of closing borders and deterrence. While European supporters or so-called “human rights defenders” such as Carola Rackete or the iuventa10 have recently received a lot of attention and support after having become the target of increasing criminalisation, there is hardly any information nor support for those without a European passport facing the very same accusations. However, it is them who constitute the majority of those being arrested and imprisoned in Italy and Greece on grounds of alleged “smuggling” and “aiding illegal immigration”. Arrested immediately upon arrival, a lot of them disappear unknown and unheard of and with no access to support from outside.

The basis for this is Greek legislation that considers any person found to have driven a vehicle across Greek borders, entering Greece without required documentation, as a smuggler.

The arrests as well as trials that follow these often-unfounded accusations of smuggling are arbitrary. Police officers might accuse the person holding the tiller to steer the boat, or the one who communicated with the coast guard to call for help or simply someone who speaks English, to be a smuggler. In Greece, the average trial lasts only around 30 minutes, leading to an average sentence of 44 years and fines over 370.000 Euro. Suspects, or what we would deem ‘victims’ of this unjust legislation, usually have limited access to legal assistance, most of them relying on public defenders. Observers voice concerns about a “shocking lack of deep processing”, reporting that judgements are pronounced despite lack of evidence and poor quality of translation.

This statement is to express our solidarity with Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar and all those criminalized and deprived of their basic rights in the European Union’s proclaimed fight against “smugglers”. We call on everyone to condemn the arbitrary application of anti-smuggling laws against people on the move, who are often already in fear of their lives. We denounce the exploitation of the vulnerable situation of asylum seekers by the EU member states, leaving them without the means to properly defend themselves.

Together with the Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar support committee we demand:

• The immediate release of Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar.
• All charges against them to be dropped, and their innocence to be recognized.
• Hamza’s asylum application to be accepted and his asylum granted.
• Regularisation of the situation of Hamza and Mohamed, and freedom of movement for all.

We further demand:

    • Freedom for all those that are suffering the same fate, being imprisoned in Greek and Italian prisons because they were looking for a better life.
• A change in the Greek and Italian law in order to remove the legal grounds for these arbitrary arrests and convictions.

    –>  Attend the trial of Hamza and Mohamed on February 4th 2020 in Komotini, Greece!
–>  Donate for their legal defence: https://www.lepotsolidaire.fr/pot/94duqw1k

– ADIF Associazione diritti e frontiere, Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo, Italy
– Adopt a Revolution
– Alarm Phone Watch the Med
– Prof. Dr. Annita Kalpaka, University Hamburg
– Antina Plath, Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland, Germany
– ARCI Porco Rosso, Palermo
– Prof. Dr. Astride Velho, Germany
– borderline-europe e.V., Germany
– Borderline Sicilia Onlus, Italy
– Carola Rackete
– Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb
– Clandestina Thessaloniki, Greece
– Christian Peace Maker Team Lesvos, Greece
– Délinquants solidaires, France
– Demokratische Juristinnen und Juristen e.V., Germany
– Esc-Infomigrante, Rome
– European Civic Forum, Switzerland
– European Democratic Lawyers – Avocats Européens Démocrates
– Harald Bauder, Ph.D., Ryerson University Canada
– Il Comitato di Base No Muos di Palermo, Italy
– Institute of Race Relations, Anya Edmond-Pettitt, United Kingdom
– iuventa10
– Judith Gleitze, borderline-europe, Palermo
– Kontakt- und Beratungsstelle für Flüchtlinge und Migrant*innen e.V., Germany
– La FASTI, Fédération des associations de solidarité avec tou-te-s les immigré-e-s, France
– L’Association Marocaine Des Droits Humains, Morocco
– Loubna Messaoudi, CEO Founder BIWOC* Rising, Berlin
– Marie Amoyi, Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland, Germany
– Migreurop, Observatoire des frontières, France
– mediale pfade, Germany
– Mobile Info Team, Greece
– Münchner Flüchtlingsrat, Germany
– Observatory of Solidarity, Milan
– Refugee Law Clinic Berlin, Germany
– Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein, Germany
– Rete Antirazzista Catanese, Italy
– Sea-Watch, Germany
– Seán Binder
– Seebrücke, Germany
– Solidarité sans frontières, Switzerland
– Solidarity Watch, Belgium
– Statewatch, United Kingdom
– TPC Maison Solidaire, France
– You Can’t Evict Solidarity, Germany

[Bulgaria] CALL FOR SOLIDARITY with the NO NAZIS ON OUR STREETS 2020 demonstration

We document a call of our comrades from Sofia:

CALL FOR SOLIDARITY with the NO NAZIS ON OUR STREETS 2020 demonstration

No Nazis on Our Streets 2020 – Sofia, 22.02.20, 13.00 h, Banski Square

On the 22.02.2020, the neo-nazi Lukovmarsh will happen in Sofia for a 17th time. The Bulgarian neo-nazis will walk the streets of Sofia with their  European counterparts. The march will probably be silently patronized by the municipality of Sofia and the higher levels of power in the country.

On 22.02.2020,  the demonstration “No Nazis on Our Streets!” will also take place. After a Pan-European neo-nazi organization called Fortress Europe was established in Sofia in 2019, we think that it is time that society in the country has to wake up and stop its’ silent consent to its’ own fascization.

For us, antifascism is not a party or a person – it is a human position against far-right aggression and violence that has become a reality in the street, as well as a state policy.

Lukovmarsh will happen 75 years after the horror of the Holocaust. While Bulgarian politicians hypocritically go around the world and talk about a “Bulgaria that has saved its’ Jews”, formal and informal neo-nazi groups celebrate the memory of Hristo Lukov – a person who wanted their extermination. Today his ideological heirs appear in more and more places around the country, followed by more neo-nazi marches. At the same time, the Bulgarian “patriotic” government is making attempts for revisionism.

Public figures and media are flooding us with the cliches of the elite, while turning up people against each other: Bulgarians against people who are perceived as non-Bulgarians, heterosexuals against non-heterosexuals, women against men, even medical workers against doctors, the list can go on forever.

It is time to unite against the lies of racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, homophobia and sexism! Against the lies of power and the state!

The streets are ours! Let’s take reclaim them on 22.02.2020!

In case you haven’t stumbled upon a call for the demonstration “No Nazis on Our Strees” before, here is some general information about why we are protesting  Lukovmarsh:

Who are Antifa Sofia/ Antifa Bulgaria?

We are a group of people with pedominantly anarchist and anti-authoritarian ideas, who oppose traditional party structures and organizations. We have gathered in our attempts to stop the neo-nazi Lukovmarsh and oppose acts of far-right violence.

Who is general Lukov and what is “Lukovmarsh”? 

“Lukovmarsh” is a classical fascist torch-lit march with hundreds of participants that occurs annually since 2003, in February, honoring the memory of the lieutenant-general, politician and minister of war Hristo Lukov (1887-1943), a supporter of Nazi Germany during the World War II, pressuring the government to send the Bulgarian Jews to death camps in Germany, leader of an ultra-nationalistic organization UBNL, clearly proclaim anti-semitism xenophobia, totalitarism and fascism. He was killed by Violeta Yakova, a woman of Jewish origin, member of the underground antifascist resistance in Sofia.

17 years ago, in 2003, the figure of Hristo Lukov was pulled out of the trash bin of history to be commemorated for the first time and the march in his honor has been happening ever since.

The formal and informal groups behind the organization of “Lukovmarsh”, along with most of the participants in the procession, represent the Bulgarian the vast majority of the Bulgarian extreme right and Neo-Nazi scene: the main organizer Bulgarian National Union, the nationalistic party VMRO (officially part of the parliamentary group United Patriots, currently in the government), National Resistance (famous for holding homophobic demos), Neo-Nazi ultras groups, the Bulgarian branch of neonazi organization Blood And Honor and others.

Why is transnational solidarity important?

Ultra-nationalists are already in the government. Parliamentary and extra-parliamentary nazi organizations are uniting against migrants, meeting up, marching together, holding conferences and showing “white international solidarity” more than ever to “protect Europe” as they claim. This was evident in the numbers of foreign supporters of Lukovmarsh lately, among which are: Spain (La Falange), Germany (NPD, Die Rechte, Der III Weg), France (Terre et peuple), Italy (CasaPound), Austria , Croatia (The Neo-Fascist Party), Poland (National Revival), Romania (Nova Dreapta), Hungary, Sweden (The Nordic Front), Russia (Russian Imperial Movement), etc.

Lukovmarsh is a good example for how the system “works” – for years, the march has been protested against. Even the Capital Directorate of Internal Affairs has published data that Lukovmarsh is an event in which members of pro-Nazi terroristic and criminal groups participate. Since 2014, the mayor of Sofia is formally “banning” the march, only later to let Nazis march with their torches, escorting them with a large number of police force. Meanwhile, political parties in close ties with the organizations behind Lukovmarsh are in the local, national and European power structures, holding a number of top positions. Constant hate-speech is promoted and widely welcome in the media, which has continuously used it to raise its audience’s moneymaking fears and racist stereotypes.

Below is our brochure if anyone wants to print and spread information on the subject:

More Infos:
http://antifa-bulgaria.org/
https://www.facebook.com/events/113035276743896/

[Athens] No holidays in Petrou Ralli: A LETTER FROM DETAINED WOMEN

An article from our comrades from Bulletinmag in Greece:

No holidays in Petrou Ralli: A LETTER FROM DETAINED WOMEN

On December 19, 2019, was our last visit to Petrou Ralli Detention Center. Once more the number of detainees had increased and reached no50 50 women from 15 different countries. Indonesia, Ethiopia, Albania, Afghanistan, Georgia, Iran, Italy, Cameroon, China, Tibet, Belarus, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, and Turkey. In our effort to talk with them, some police officers were in such close proximity that prevented women to express themselves freely about situations they experience. The behavior of some officers was also provoking towards us.

A characteristic testimony: “When we came here they forbade us to wear our headscarves and told us:” Out of here you can be Muslim, here NO! Here you are Christians… ”

Another testimony: “A police officer invaded into the shower room, while a prisoner was bathing, and made her pull the towel…” At the time, the health of several of them was very bad. Despite our own pressure for two women to be transferred to a hospital as emergency cases, nothing really changed. Τhese women are still very sick. Also, there are no doctors during weekends and during the night time, at Petrou Ralli. On Christmas day we were informed by relatives of prisoners for possible initiation of a few women on hunger strike. The day after our visit they started writing their experiences in the following denunciation letter, where they describe them with their own voices. Experiences that we can simply only imagine. Women from six different countries asked their will for their letter to be publicized. When you have lost everything you do not fear anything.

Their voices should be heard in the whole world. You can discuss it in your assemblies. The organizations and institutions that talk about human rights should stop fooling us and playing with the plight of migrants and refugees, who are led to extermination.

We stand by and admire these women for their bravery and solidarity they show to each other…

No person illegal, no person invisible

Our Rebel sisters are right for the abolition of detention centers and opening of Borders

for stopping illegal racist & misogynist behaviors

for smashing verbal, physical and mental torture

The passion for freedom is stronger than all kinds of prisons

In streets, in squares and prison cells, migrant women you are not alone

The House of Women, for the Empowerment & Emancipation

spiti.gynaikon@gmail.com

(translated in English from the original)

“Greece, Allodapon (Immigrant House) PRISON 20-12-2019

That so-called-immigration office is such a hideous and villainous place that makes anyone forget his/her humanity. Nothing is legal here. Lies, molestation, sexual abuse, diseases, neglection, squalidity, ill-treatment, beating, insult…You literally face with all of these.

Above all, how can they dare? If Europe doesn’t know, how come they dare? Maybe it is a conspiracy! Here we are locked into wards 3-4 times a day which are filthy and full of lice. Only after hitting the iron fences over and over, a policewoman asks «what», by shouting and insulting. They treat us as if we are animals. (not even animals should be treated like this). They took our mobile phones on the first day and didn’t give it back to prevent us to take pictures or videos. Even the lawyers can’t come inside. When the volunteers of organization companies come we are locked. Volunteers are told a lot of lies. For example, they are told we stay here 2 weeks maximum. Most of us are here for 1,5 months. There are people here who stay for 4 months without being told anything.

We are being taken to airing twice a day like herds. When the time is off, they shout ‘Inside’, and lock us inside the wards. When people need to go to the toilets, they have to shout, punch, kick the doors. Sometimes, only sometimes, a policewoman comes after 15-20 minutes. Other times no one comes. Even if one of us dies at those times, no one cares.

Ceylan Pinar Kanli, Turkish. Everybody is sick. Everybody has wounds because of the filth. Some of us even have cysts. For example, I have cysts all over my body. After 5 days, they took me to the doctor inside the immigration house. He said “you should go to the hospital immediately. You need a blood analysis. It is urgent.” Despite that, they make me wait. It has been 5 days.

We do the cleaning ourselves. We have neither shampoo nor soap. Nothing… The ones who have visitors are lucky, what about the others? They ask the ones with visitors to buy things for their needs if they have money. Our friends without money, they either ask to share or they smell.

There is no word to describe the toilets. No detergents, no soaps, nothing! The toilets changed their color because of the dirt and filth. The ones with wet handkerchiefs wrap their noses and face to be able to enter the toilets. The ones without handkerchiefs mostly vomit.

And the policemen! Under the pretext of distributing food, they touch and harass women. This is a horrible place.

The ward on the right belongs to men. The inhuman beating by the police (the victim was a man called MECIT) shouldn’t be ignored. 4 cops kicked him to death barbarously. I can’t forget his ashamed looks because he was beaten in front of all of us.

The food they give both cold and smells! Tomatoes and oranges are rotten. Even to drink water we have a timetable. Water drinking time… We have to drink that disgusting, smelling water. When I said ‘I can’t drink this water. May I buy from outside?’ the policemen laughed a lot and said ‘You have to’. There are a lot of things to say about that place… The sentences on the walls, relentless tears, and continuous supplications.

All are here in that hell.

Alla from Syria, whose headscarf is pulled from her head

Aisha from Somalia, who can’t walk because of the cysts, who is taken to hospital in the middle of the night and when the inflammation gets a bit better, taken back in prison.

And us, who are insulted every day, 1 Iranian, 3 Albanian girls who were abused.

That place is not an immigration office, it is a torture house. I believe I will be able to go out but it’s not only me. After me, there are lots of women who haven’t got any money, a lawyer. They have no one. There are children hereunder 18 and it is not legal.

Please help us. The women who were on indefinite hunger strike ate for the first time after 3 days. No one cares.

Esraa Kreash (Syria), age 22. Esraa is on medication for her psychological condition under the supervision of a doctor twice a day. However, the police gave her only once at night. For a day, they didn’t give her any. Then, Esra didn’t take the pills at night and the next day she took two of the pills. Because she took two pills in a day (she took one in a day for 20 days before), she slept. When she woke up, she went out airing. The police said that the time was off. She had to go inside, but she knew neither English nor Greek. So she didn’t understand.

After that, the police pulled her arms hard and pushed her. Esra attacked the police’s hair. 4 police came from inside. 2 policemen handcuffed her, 2 policewomen hit her arms. And in front of all of us, they dragged her on the floor and locked her in a cell. They left her handcuffed in the cell without food until night. She cried a lot, knocked the door continuously but they didn’t open it until the night shift. She only knows to say ‘sorry’ in English. She said it tons of times, over and over. Only after that, they opened the door. Her roommates asked food for Esra, but they didn’t give any.

She says ‘I haven’t used psychological drugs before. When I came to this prison, the doctor here gave them to me. She is here for 25 days. She has no visitor, neither money nor a lawyer. She retained a lawyer but because she doesn’t have money, the lawyer doesn’t come. She signed for asylum in Leros 3 months ago. Then she went to Lefkada and she was caught there while going to Italy on the ship and was taken to Allodapon. For 3 months, she has been waiting for the interview. 25.12.2019

Meryen Zare, from Iran who was swindled by her lawyer, hasn’t got any money and a lawyer. Neither translator nor visitor. She asked someone who knows English to write a letter to the police saying ‘Please send a translator or I will kill myself.’ Meryem has been waiting for the answer for 3 days. She is all alone, doesn’t know what to do, without a translator. She has gone on an indefinite hunger strike for 3 days. Today we made her eat.

Glory, from Nigeria, has been waiting to be free although she has been here for 2 months and finished 2 interviews. She is still an indefinite hunger striker! 26.12.2019″

Reading the denouncing letter of these women, in comparison with Article 21, on the rights of detainees, from the Decision: “Establishment, operation, and regulation of the aliens’ pre-removal centers(APC)”, one can easily, and leniently speaking, realize the tragic irony:

Regulation of Pre-removal Centers

Article 21

The foreign detainees in the detention centers have the right:

a. To medical treatment and to psychosocial diagnosis and support,

b. To unhindered religious practice, as long as the safety rules of the detention center are not violated

c. Not to be subjects of discrimination (…)

g. To access to a lawyer and in case of inability, providing legal support (…)

n. To be informed via newspapers, magazines, and books with which they are supplied during their visiting hours and to have access to the library (…)

L. To receive from the guards of the detention center the necessary things for their personal hygiene and tidiness,

m. To receive appropriate nutrition with the concern of A.P.C., 3 times a day and

n. To be informed via newspapers, magazines, and books with which they are supplied during their visiting hours and to have access to the library

(there is no and has never been a library at Petrou Ralli)

[Greece] Free Nour – criminalization of refugees as human traffickers

The source of the following article is the petition in change.org: (https://www.change.org/p/european-court-of-human-rights-free-nour-al-sameh) as well as the picture which is taken from this petition too.

Cases of state repression against refugees arriving with boats on greek islands by criminalizing their act of eventually conducting a boat as human trafficking as written below, are no single cases. It is a systematicly policy of deterrence and arbitrariness. We want to make these cases visible. Nour is an exemplary case for this:

Free Nour Al-sameh!

Nour Al-Sameh is 29 years old ٍSyrian who is unjustly imprisoned in Greece for 4 years now because he flee to Europe for refuge. Just like the Captain of the Sea-Watch Carola Rackete, he acted to save the lives of people on a boat in the Aegean Sea who would otherwise have drowned in the water.

Nour studied Business Management in Syria, he fled his country due to persecution and war that burst in. He stayed in Turkey in an unbearable situation without shelter or job until he managed to leave Turkey, in July 29th 2015. The only possibility for him to seek refuge in Europe was crossing the Aegean Sea in small sailing boat. He was the only person on the boat who could speak English, when the boat was about to sink he called for help using the walky-talky on the boat.

People on the boat were taken by The Greek coast guards accompanied by military forces (according to Nour,this forces were in military uniform, and he thinks that they were speaking in German)
The boat was taken to the harbor of Perya Island in Greece, he was handed to the Greek coast guards. Being blindfolded and handcuffed, Nour was beaten, insulted and humiliated by the Greek police.

He was accused with Human Trafficking and sentenced for 315 years and a fine of 3150000 Euros in June 2016. Similar cases have shown that the court counts prison year by the number of people on the boat. With the support of his friends he managed to get a lawyer and appeal against this decision in November 2017, the judge of Perya court dismissed the appeal. In another attempt for justice Nour’s lawyer brought the case to the highest court in Greece, the Supreme Court, to win the opportunity for an appeal and to explain his story properly. Since the hearing in the Supreme Court in February 2019 Nour is waiting for an answer on his claim.

Nour’s case is not an exception. Many refugees have been criminalized, arrested and are currently detained in Greek prisons simply because they were fleeing. The Legal Center Lesvos has documented https://legalcentrelesvos.org/category/news/).

“The individuals charged are denied the basic rights to a fair trial, guaranteed under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, as they are routinely denied adequate interpretation, are denied a fair hearing, and convictions are based on the sole fact that the individual was driving the boats attempting to reach Europe from Turkey” In Nour’s case it was simply making a call to ask for help. The Christian Peacemaker Team also documented a trial against refugees concluding

“No one in the courtroom supported the business of human smuggling of refugees—making immense profits by charging huge prices for transporting refugees in very dangerous conditions, usually crowding too many people in unsafe boats, often not giving them life jackets that actually work, or not putting enough fuel in the motor to reach the shore of the Greek island. It’s a horrendous crime against these vulnerable and desperate people. But the people being tried in this courtroom were not the people running these illegal businesses and getting rich.”

https://cptmediterranean.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/seeing-in-the-greek-courtroom/

Here is another article tackling the unjust sentencing of many more people, most likely there are many more like Nour that we haven’t heard of.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/241858/article/ekathimerini/news/three-arrested-for-migrant-smuggling-in-as-many-incidents

Nour is still arrested without any help and his case is forgotten

please sign his petition and share it, Nour deserves our solidarity

Saving lives is not a crime!

We demand Nour’s immediate release!

 

[Lesvos] This was not an accident! Statement about the fire in hot-spot Moria on 29.9.19

Source: http://lesvos.w2eu.net/2019/09/30/this-was-not-an-accident/

This was not an accident!
They died because of Europe’s cruel deterrence and detention regime!

Yesterday, on Sunday 29 September 2019, a fire broke out in the so-called hotspot of Moria on Lesvos Island in Greece. A woman and probably also a child lost their lives in the fire and it remains unclear how many others were injured. Many people lost all their small belongings, including identity documents, in the fire. The people imprisoned on Lesvos have fled wars and conflicts and now experience violence within Europe. Many were re-traumatised by these tragic events and some escaped and spent the night in the forest, scared to death.

Over the past weeks, we had to witness two more deaths in the hotspot of Moria: In August a 15-year-old Afghan minor was killed during a violent fight among minors inside the so-called “safe space” of the camp. On September 24, a 5-year-old boy lost his life when he was run-over by a truck in front of the gate.

The fire yesterday was no surprise and no accident. It is not the first, and it will not be the last. The hotspot burned already several times, most tragically in November 2016 when large parts burned down. Europe’s cruel regime of deterrence and detention has now killed again.

In the meantime, in the media, a story was immediately invented, saying that the refugees themselves set the camp on fire. It was also stated that they blocked the fire brigade from entering. We have spoken to many people who witnessed the events directly. They tell us a very different story: In fact, the fire broke out most probably due to an electricity short circuit. The fire brigade arrived very late, which is no surprise given the overcrowdedness of this monstrous hotspot. Despite its official capacity for 3,000 people, it now detains at least 12,500 people who suffer there in horrible living conditions. On mobile phone videos taken by the prisoners of the camp, one can see how in this chaos, inhabitants and the fire brigade tried their best together to at least prevent an even bigger catastrophe.

There simply cannot be a functioning emergency plan in a camp that has exceeded its capacity four times. When several containers burned in a huge fire that generated a lot of smoke, the imprisoned who were locked in the closed sector of the camp started in panic to try to break the doors. The only response the authorities had, was to immediately bring police to shoot tear-gas at them, which created an even more toxic smoke.

Anger and grief about all these senseless deaths and injuries added to the already explosive atmosphere in Moria where thousands have suffered while waiting too long for any change in their lives. Those who criminalise and condemn this outcry in form of a riot of the people of Moria cannot even imagine the sheer inhumanity they experience daily. The real violence is the camp itself, conditions that are the result of the EU border regime’s desire for deterrence.

We raise our voices in solidarity with the people of Moria and demand once again: The only possibility to end this suffering and dying is to open the islands and to have freedom of movement for everybody. Those who arrive on the islands have to continue their journeys to hopefully find a place of safety and dignity elsewhere. We demand ferries to transfer the exhausted and re-traumatised people immediately to the Greek mainland. We need ferries not Frontex. We need open borders, so that everyone can continue to move on, even beyond Greece. Those who escape the islands should not be imprisoned once more in camps in mainland Greece, with conditions that are the same as the ones here on the islands.

Close down Moria!
Open the islands!
Freedom of Movement for everyone!

Welcome to Europe – http://lesvos.w2eu.net/
WatchTheMed Alarm Phone – https://alarmphone.org/en/
Mare Liberum – https://mare-liberum.org/en/

[Roeszke11/Ahmed H.] Ahmed is back home!

We are happy to tell you that 4 years after the brutal attack of the Hungarian state on the protests after the closing of the Roeszke border crossing and the arrests of the eleven people, the so called Roeszke 11, the last person Ahmed H. was finally able to leave the country to Cyprus, back to his family, on the 28th of September 2019.

After several years in prison and through the court instances, the Hungarian state ignored the European wide protests and convicted Ahmed in a fake trial of “terrorism” to prison for 5 years in the end in 2018. Since January 2019 he we was meant to be released from prison but had to stay in deportation detention as Cyprus didn`t want to let him return to his family there.

We wish Ahmed and his family all the best!
Thanks to all people supporting Ahmed and his family and the Roeszke 11 – solidarity will win! Lets fight injustice and the border regime!

Read the statement of Amnesty International:
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/09/hungary-syrian-man-unjustly-jailed-finally-allowed-home-to-cyprus/

[Athen] Refugee squats in centre of Athens under attack by new government

The following post is originally published on Infomobile: information with, for and about refugees in Greece, published here: http://infomobile.w2eu.net/2019/09/25/refugee-squats-in-centre-of-athens-under-attack-by-new-government-while-thousands-housed-in-state-run-camps-are-dumped-in-tents-and-containers-under-inhuman-conditions/

In a wave of sweep-operations against refugees and migrants the new right-wing government of Nea Dimokratia (of July 7th) within the last month has evicted five refugee squats and announced more will follow. Meanwhile, nothing is done to improve reception conditions in the official camps – in contrary things get worse. The state literally denies dignified housing and integration to thousands of refugees and their kids. New camps built; old camps re-opened or expanded; more tents set up… this is how the state deals with protection seekers. Not to mention, the undocumented who are threatened by arrest, detention and deportation. 

“They are trying to bury us but they forget that we are seeds, that we are more than just a number, more than an occupied building, we are a community.”

5th schoolOn 23 September, 143 refugees and migrants were evicted from 5th school in Exarchia. During the sweep operation Photoreporter Alexandros Stamatiou got arrested for “breach of domestic peace” during his professional news coverage, as the Greek Union of Photoreporters denounced, “a fact that does not remind anymore of a democracy”. The raid in the building housing many families with kids was based on a complaint filed in 2016 by neo-Nazi and former parliamentarian I. Kassidiaris from Golden Dawn, as EFSYN newspaper uncovered.

“It was this that triggered the prosecutor’s intervention and the recent sweep operation during which nothing was found. As it turns out, the “law and order” doctrine even takes advantage of the neo-Nazis’ racist actions.”

EFSYN

The Greek Federation of Secondary Education State School Teachers (B-ELME) denounced the violent sweep and the arrest of the photoreporter. As they state, many of the 56 kids residing in the 5th school squat had been visiting public schools in the neighbourhood of Exarchia and have now been once again uprooted and out of the educational system since their transfer to distant refugee camps. According to the Federation, the 5th school was closed and left empty for some years by earlier governments, until being turned into a refugee housing space, after the fusion with another school – a procedure which in the year 2013 led to the closure of three schools alone in this area.

“The State must provide decent living conditions within the urban centres for refugees and migrants, the vast majority of whom are victims of imperialist wars, with equal access to health and education. Children – without any exception – have the right to education in public schools. We are opposed to the long-term entrapment of thousands of people who were forced to get uprooted from their countries, through the flagrant EU Turkey “Deal”. We are opposed to the totally unacceptable living conditions in the hot spots on the islands and in the camps in mainland Greece. The “law and order” that the new government is trying to impose on human souls, trampling on labor and trade union rights, is targeting universal human values ​​and achievements.”

Greek Federation of Secondary Education State School Teachers (B-ELME)

Also the parents association of 35th and 36th primary schools publicly demanded their kid’s school mates back.

“In recent days, buildings in downtown Athens have been evacuated where refugees had found shelter, waiting for what law, what government, what bureaucracy will proceed their asylum procedures. Their children were enrolled in the schools of downtown Athens, trying to integrate, learn the language, make their lives a normal one even under these conditions. But while it is the state that should ensure that all children are enrolled and attending school, while having ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is the state that most violently deprives them of their rights, it pushes them to the margins, it does not respect their fundamental rights, it does not respect their existence. Because the school year has begun and children are removed from their schools without any notice, without even registering them and transferring them to other schools.

We want our children’s classmates back. Because it is the obligation of all of us to finally ensure a safe environment for them. Thanks to them many of the city center’s schools were actually not closed. Because political games cannot be played on the backs of children and oppressed people!”

Parents Association of 35th and 36th primary schools

On 19 September already 269 people (46 families) had been evicted from the two refugee squats Jasmin School (also known as 2ndschool) and Acharnon22. These raids followed earlier evictions of Spirou Trikoupi 15 and 17 on 26 August where in total another 143 people had been residing. Following the raids, the former “homes” got sealed up with barbed wire; windows and doors locked with bricks and cement and people taken away from their neighbourhoods.

Mostly families with kids but also many homeless single men fleeing from war and conflict areas to Europe to find safety, have been attacked during these raids and were taken away their homes and communities. Protection seekers already traumatised found themselves in early morning hours waking up by the shouting and threats of armed special forces, the massive police presence invading their temporary “homes” supposingly in order to “combat drug trade and lawlessness” – as government and mainstream media propaganda frame it. Refugees and migrants were transferred first to Petrou Ralli Aliens Police Directorate for hours of control. The ones with papers from Trikoupi Squats were temporarily transferred to an empty building, to Schisto camp and then spread to different camps. In Schisto they stayed outside in small tents for days. In Eleonas eight persons shared one room in a container “piled up like animals in a farm”.  Many rejected a transfer to distant camps such as Katsikas in the Northern Greece or Koutsochero near Larissa (also to Eleonas, Skaramangas, Thiva and Lavrio) and are homeless again today. The ones from Jasmin school and Acharnon22 were brought to the newly established state-run tent camp in Corinth from where they will be reportedly divided likewise the others to other camps all over mainland Greece.

People transferred to Corinth reported of miserable conditions as they were placed on a dusty field with 16 rub halls (big tents). Some already returned back to Athens, as they couldn’t follow their daily lives from such distance, with their kids being subscribed in downtown schools, medical cases being followed by doctors in the capital, people having found jobs there and legal cases being proceeded in Athens asylum service and the diverse embassies located in the city. Also residents of 5thschool residents were brought to Corinth. The undocumented from all squats were arrested and brought to the pre-removal detention centre Amygdaleza. (10 from Trikoupi Squats, 14 from Yasmin and Acharnon 22 while two families and 19 persons from 5th school remained in Petrou Ralli for their papers – information by 24. September) Reportedly, some of the detainees in Amygdaleza started a hunger strike.

„Most of us had to move to places around Thessaloniki, over 400 km from here. We don’t want to do that. They are playing with us. They have evicted us from our house and they have destroyed it, but they will not also take away the life we have managed to create here in Athens. Our children are going to the school in Exarcheia and we refuse to make them leave it and have to adapt to a new place once again. We want to stay here. We answered them that we will not go anywhere against our will. We keep strong.“

Trikoupi 17

“We are scared about our lives and our freedom and some of us have chosen to stay on the streets to avoid being chased and arrested one more time. They have tried to divide and separate us, but we continue to struggle together. They destroyed our home, but the family that we have created in Trikoupi’s community remains united. Against their repression, solidarity is our weapon!“

Trikoupi 17

The governments attacks against refugee squats have to be understood in the broader frame of a (re-)introduced anti-migratory policy, increasing police repression, institutionalised racism and right wing populism which is used against any from of solidarity.

With more than 29.000 refugees and migrants trapped in the Aegean Islands, of which 12.000 alone try to survive currently in the hell of hotspot Moria / Lesvos and a 5-year-old boy just lost his life there while playing in a carton box (24. September)…

With 5.000 who could actually officially leave the islands but have nowhere to go…

With more than 88.000 refugees and migrants currently stuck in Greece most of which are dumped in overcrowded camps far from local society and under squalid conditions…

The focus of the state is to impose “law and order” in a hypocritical fight against “crime and lawlessness” while actually sacrificing what has been hardly achieved: peoples’ freedom, dignity and respect.

We denounce the attacks on refugee squats in Exarchia and elsewhere! No Pasaran! Solidarity will win!

Employ teachers, not police officers! 

Close the camps! Open homes!

For freedom of movement of all and the right to stay! 

NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!

W2eu / infomobile greece

 

[Ahmed H.] 4 years after the Röszke11 riots: The Cyprian government denies Ahmed’s return to his family

The Cyprian government denies Ahmed’s return to his family

Today four years have passed since the “Röszke riot”, the attack of the
Hungarian riot police and TEK (counter-terrorism unite) on protesting
migrants against borders and limitation of freedom of movement in
September 2015. During and after this riot eleven people were arrested
and later faced a court trial.

Ahmed H., one of the arrested eleven people was convicted for terrorism
and sentenced first to 10, than to 7 and on the last court instance to 5
years prison.

On the 19th of January 2019 he was supposed to get released on parole,
after he finished two third of his sentence. But instead of returning
home, he was transferred to the immigration prison in Nyirbátor, in the
east of Hungary. He was waiting for months there for Cyprus to renew his
visa, which expired during the time he spent in prison . He used to live
in Cyprus before his arrest for more than ten years together with his
wife and children. He left the country and ended at Hungarian-Serbian
border, because he accompanied his parents from Syria to Europe.
Although the authorities promised him that he can return home with his
renewed visa after the administration procedure is over, after months of
waiting he learnt, that the government of Cyprus refused his return. The
interior ministry of Cyprus stated that he is a security threat and
cannot get visa.

There is apparently no state willing to let Ahmed enter, so he remains
trapped in the Hungarian jail. In the last months we could not publish
anything about the case because his family did not want to go public
with this further developments until now. We were silent, but we did not
disappear.

During the trial, there was very strong criticism against the Hungarian
state. The liberal media, international organisations, and even the EU
parliament were accusing Hungary of not respecting european values.
Cyprus’ refusal to renew Ahmed’s visa prove, that his situation is not
exclusively the
fault of an ‘undemocratic’, ‘dictatorial’ regime. The racist
anti-immigrant and anti-terrorist
discourse is an essential part of the idea of ‘Europe’ and the european
border regime,
that all european states follow.

This is a call for solidarity actions targeting this time the Cyprian
state and its institutions. A strong international public pressure is
needed for Ahmed’s release and return home. The government of Cyprus has
to let him join his family again and be finally free from the
imprisonment! Spread the news, spread solidarity!

Let us not forget the prisoners of the Fortress!
Freedom for Ahmed H.!

“Free the Röszke 11” solidarity group

freetheroszke11@riseup.net
https://freetheroszke11.weebly.com

[Athens] Wave of repression and evictions of refugee-squats in Exarcheia

Artikel first published on enough is enough 14 on 27. August 2017:

Greek territory: #Exarcheia under police occupation!

Athens, August 26. Alert! What we have been announcing to you for a month and a half has just begun this morning (yesterday morning, Enough 14), just before dawn. Athens’ famous rebel and supportive neighbourhood is completely surrounded by huge police forces: many riot police buses (MAT), anti-terrorist untis (OPKE), police on motorbikes (DIAS), members of the secret police (asfalitès), as well as a helicopter and several drones.

Originally published by BlogYY. Written by Yannis Youlountas. Translated by Squat Net.

A unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-managed spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and its solidarity with precarious and migrants, Exarcheia has been in the sight of the right-wing government since its election on 7 July. The new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had made it a personal affair, especially since he had been mocked in early August for failing to achieve his goal of “cleaning Exarcheia in a month” as he had announced with great fanfare.

This morning, 4 squats were evicted: Spirou Trikoupi 17, Transito, Rosa de Foc and Gare. The offensive currently concerns the north-western part of the district, with the notable exception of the Notara 26 squat, which is considered better guarded and very symbolically important for the district as the first historical squat of the “refugee crisis” in downtown Athens.

There are currently about 100 arrests, including than brutal attacks on people trying to film. Only the mass media in the service of power are allowed to cover the event.

In total, there are 23 squats in Exarcheia plus 26 others around the district, for a total of 49 concentrated in a relatively small area. 49 squats to which other types of self-managed sites must be added, including some rented (Espace Social Libre Nosotros, free shop Skoros, etc.) as well as dozens of private homes groups of activists, often near the terraces to allow access above the streets.

On the squats that are precisely inside Exarcheia, 12 are accommodation squats for refugees and migrants and the 11 others are squats of anarchist and anti-authoritarian collectives (although most refugee squats are also obviously very political, starting with Notara 26 and Spirou Trikoupi 17 with direct assemblies and many links with the rest of the movement).

In the squats of Spirou Trikoupi 17 and Transito (on which servants of power are now bricking up windows), more than fifteen children have been torn from a peaceful and happy existence in order to suddenly being sent to camps. These sinister camps are unhealthy and overcrowded, migrants are malnourished and suffer from temperature variations, humiliation, and sometimes torture, and Mitsotakis also demands that they all be well closed and, in the future, completely cut off from the rest of the territory.

The face of Europe is constantly hardening, the same process is happening in other continents. This evolution increasing authoritarian capitalism leads us to question what the coming times will bring: the offensive against the pockets of utopias coupled with the confinement of the scapegoats reminds us of the dark hours of History.

The whole world is becoming fascist and Greece is once again one of them, one of the laboratories.

But nothing is over. September is coming soon. Seasonal jobs are about to end. The social movement gathers and organizes itself again. Places like Notara 26 and K*Vox are under high surveillance. Answers are being prepared, as well as several major events mobilizers. Autumn will be hot in Athens.

Resistance!

Yannis Youlountas, August 26, 2019

Today, Tuesday August 27, there wull be several protests and solidarity actions:

[Balkan] Push-back Map is online!

published by www.pushbackmap.org

Zagreb, June 18th 2019
A Tool to Collectively Fight the Repressive Border & Control Regime

Currently we are witnessing an increase in institutional violence across Europe. At the EU’s borders expulsions, direct deportations, readmissions and other forms of forced returns across borders are happening on a daily basis. These violent practices are called push-backs.
They are a systematic institutionalised technique used to suppress movement across borders. With our newly developed online tool The Push-back Map, www.pushbackmap.org, we aim to map, document, visualise and denounce these practices.

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