Category Archives: General

[Lesvos] Ongoing Criminalization of Refugee Protests – Upcoming trials against migrants on Lesvos

The criminalization of refugees protesting for their rights on Lesvos Island continues.

In April 2018, 32 people from the Moria 35 who had been arrested arbitrarily following a peaceful sit-in strike were convicted without any reliable evidence. Now, three more trials against refugees will be held at the end of February 2019.

Two of the trials address peaceful protests on the central Sapphous square of Mytilene, Lesvos, in November 2017. 13 adults and 4 minors are charged. The first trial will take place on 21st of February and the defendants are charged for camping on a communal space. The second trial is scheduled for the 28th of February with the charge of attempt to occupy a public space. In addition, some of the defendants are accused for disobedience and others for resistance against the police.

The third trial addresses protests in the Syrian family section in Moria camp on March 14th, 2018. Eight people have been arrested, and five of them have been held in pre-trial detention since. Their court case will take place on the 22nd of February on Chios Island.

A fourth trial against refugees who have been protesting on the central square of Mytilene will follow. The hearing date is the 9th of May 2019. The group has been arrested on the night of 22/23rd of April 2018. They were peacefully protesting against the situation on Lesvos, when they were attacked by a group of about 300 right wing nationalist with Molotov Cocktails, rocks, sticks, and bottles. Until the early morning, the refugees were trapped on the square. While the violent attack took place, and after the violence came to an end, the police did not follow the aggressors but instead turned to the refugees who had been targeted by fascists for hours and took them to the police station. The public prosecutor’s office presses charges against them for the occupation of public space, disobedience and resistance.

The upcoming court cases on the end of February mark another peak in a chain of systematic criminalization of refugees, who are only claiming their rights and protesting against the restriction of movement to the Greek Islands and the inhumane conditions in Moria camp.

Accusations for protests on the Sapphous Square of Mytilini

The events on Sapphous Square

On 20th October 2017, a large group of Afghan refugees left the camp of Moria after violent incidents in the camp. Due to the inhumane living conditions, unequal treatment and the massive overcrowding of the camp, there are frequent outbreaks of violence leaving even uninvolved individuals badly injured.

About forty people refused to go back to Moria camp and stayed on the central Sapphous square in Mytilene, among them families with small children who were later joined by more people with different national backgrounds. For more than a month, the protesters slept on bare ground with only blankets to cover them. When strong rain started, the protestors usually did not spend the night in the square, but found alternate places to sleep for the night, and then returned to the square in the morning. Only some set up thin camping tents. They claimed the conditions were still better than staying in Moria camp.

One of the protesters, a young woman from Afghanistan explained:

“They say you can only leave Moria when you are vulnerable. So they force us to stay there until we are made vulnerable. This is crazy, no one can live in Moria, especially for women it is really dangerous.”

While there was a strong solidarity movement among the Greek and international community, the protestors were also several times confronted by right wing groups on the square.

On November 20th, the municipality called for a general strike with speeches on the square that was joined by nationalist groups. The refugee protesters left the square during this assembly on November 20th and marched on the same day to the UNHCR office to present their demands for freedom of movement.

When they tried to return to the square the next day, they were surrounded by police and harassed by hostile local groups. The police aggressively pushed the refugees aside, surrounded them and evicted the square. During this action, some of the protesters were hurt by the police, including a young child. While the refugee protestors were violently expelled from the square by the police, they did not engage in any violence themselves.The court case

The court case

More than a year later, 17 of the protestors of the Sapphous square events are now facing a trial in court. They were not even officially notified. Most of them have already been recognized as refugees, some live in Athens in the self-organized place “Hotel City Plaza”. The charges against them include camping on a public space, disobedience and resistance against the police. The court dates in Lesbos are the 21st and the 28th of February.

We demand freedom for all accused protestors. The only “crime” they committed is demanding their legitimate rights to be allowed to move freely within Greece instead of being forced to live in the inhumane conditions of the European Hotspot camp Moria. The situation in Moria has been evolving as a result of the EU-Tukey statement that forces asylum seekers to remain on the Greek Islands. A member of Doctors without Borders described Moria as “the worst refugee camp in the world”. We stand in solidarity with all of the accused people.A

Accusations against the Moria 8

On March 14th, 2018 at about 6.15 pm, clashes between migrants and police took place in the Arab family section of Moria camp. Small fires broke out and the police shot teargas in the family section that badly affected the inhabitants, among them many young children. Several families fled the camp.

Three days later, eight individuals – four Iraqis and four Syrians – were arrested and charged for riots against the police endangering human life. The police bases the arrest warrant on the accusation of a single person, an inhabitant of Moria camp who had at that time the function of a community leader for migrants from Iraq.

The community leader claimed to have recognized all of the eight, although it was dark, smoke and teargas was in the air and the faces of the refugees involved in the clashes with the police were covered. Many of the accused migrants reported that they did not even know the community leader personally. At the same time, none of the 17 police men who testified had been able to recognize a single person. The role of community leaders in Moria Camp, which involves appointment using various methods across different nationalities – and approval of the individual by authorities – is undefined and unorganised and leads to many different personalities filling this position.

On the day the former Iraqi community leader testified, his geographic restriction to the island of Lesvos was removed and he was able to leave to the Greek mainland. Repeatedly, community leaders reported that they have been put under pressure by the police to pass on information and were threatened with criminal prosecution themselves, or that it would harm their own asylum claim if they did not cooperate. Moreover, they are offered to be able to leave the horrible conditions on Lesvos if they work as informants. This might have triggered the only witness to make false claims and accuse eight people.

In two cases there is clear evidence showing the innocence of the defendants. One man from Syria was not in Moria at the time of the protest but in the town of Mytilene, as testified by a witness and backed up by a dated photo taken of him in town. When he arrived in the camp, he immediately helped a heavily pregnant woman in front of the camp, who had been badly affected by the teargas. Together with two other witnesses, he brought her to the hospital. The four people only arrived back in the camp at night when the clashes had died down. Another accused man from Iraq was working as translator for the NGO “Moria Medical Support” during the time of the protests.

Five of the accused have been kept in pre-trial detention since ten months awaiting their trial. On Wednesday, the 22nd of February 2019, the trial will be held on Chios Island. After the unjust conviction of the 32 people the year before, it is again likely that the accused will also be convicted without any evidence.

The lengthy pre-trial detention and the charges based on dubious accusations outline another case of criminalization of protests and a violent crackdown on resistance of people protesting.

Both trials are symbolic for the ongoing criminalization of refugees opposing the system of encampment and deportation, imposed at the EU borders.

Freedom for the protesters on Sapphous Square!

Freedom for the Moria 8!

The defendants need support for their court cases.

Cost arise for court fees, expense allowance for lawyers, ferry tickets and accommodation for defendants and witnesses.

We collect donations on:

borderline-europe e.V.
GLS Bank, Bochum
IBAN: DE11430609674005794100
IBAN paperform: DE11 4306 0967 4005 7941 00
BIC: GENODEM1GLS (Bochum)

Donation-Subject: Refugee Support Lesvos

This entry was posted in EU-Turkey Deportation Regime, general, report. Bookmark the permalink.

[Sofia] Unterstützt die FABRIKA AVTONOMIA in Sofia

Die Fabrika Avtonomia in Sofia braucht finanzielle Unterstützung. Unten findet ihr die Erklärung der Nutzer*innen der Fabrika. Spenden könnt ihr hier: https://www.patreon.com/fabrikaavtonomia?fbclid=IwAR27uf9pJQlJN18RLQ2I_CUaRm302TUhCDqEqdSMBfpgSC6vTObDytb0kWw. Solidarität kennte keine Grenzen!

Was ist die Fabrika Avtonomia?

Fabrika Avtonomia is a free, public, non-commercial self-organized independent space. Our core values are solidarity, autonomy, justice and equality. We organise and host various types of events from free language classes, alternative economy workshops, movie screening and lectures on different topics to independent art performances and DIY music shows.

Our aims

– In the artistic domain we support the creation of a strong independent art scene in the city of Sofia by providing free space for shows, performances and art installations. Over the course of one year we have worked with five different independent labels and many other artists that cannot survive in an environment ran exclusively by expensive commercial clubs.

– In terms of our political activity our aim is to provide space to different grass-roots social movements. We work on the intersection between different social, political and economic topics. We bring together struggles like workers’ rights and syndicalism, environmental struggles, feminism and LGBTI+ rights, anti-discrimination and anti-racism, and animal and earth liberation. We help citizens to develop self-organized groups for activism. Just as an example,we are currently working with a self-organized group for female rights in Bulgaria KEF (Club for Eclectic Feminism), Queer Squad, and the Initiative for Free Public Transport in Sofia.

Values and Principles

We are led by the pursuit of justice, solidarity, and self-management – as opposed to global capitalism, fake liberal democracy, and all kinds of totalitarianism.
We believe that a world of equality and mutual assistance, without hierarchy and without authority, is possible. While trying to apply all of this in practice, we are guided by some basic rules:
– Each onе of us represents themselves and no one else. We organize among ourselves without leaders and without anyone telling others how to “do the right thing”.
– We all participate voluntarily, according to our individual potential, abilities, and desires; all are engaged in the attempt of turning the social center into a model of autonomy.
– We believe in direct action in the name of everything we believe in and against everything that oppresses us in the present system.
– We respect all differences, because this is the only way we can achieve common solutions; we recognize the importance of diversity for a just and harmonious society; we do not accept any form of oppression or discrimination on any ground. – We do not accept that aggression – verbal or physical – is an appropriate way of communicating in our common space.

We know that the struggle for a better world is multifaceted and we do our best so that the space of “Factory Autonomy” holds its pioneering position in Sofia as the center of many struggles for justice, solidarity, and self-government. Only together can we reclaim our space, not only in the city but also in society, and join our voices to fight for our freedom.

“Autonomy” – because we ourselves can build a just, cohesive, and self-governing society.
“Factory” – because achieving our individual freedom is impossible without producing our collective freedom together.

Solidaritätserklärung: Solidarität mit der Roten Hilfe!

Laut einem Bericht des Focus plant Bundesinnenminister Horst
Seehofer (CSU) ein Verbot der Solidaritätsorganisation Rote Hilfe e.V.. Dies
fügt sich ein in den derzeitigen gesellschaftlichen Diskurs:

Ob Verschärfungen von Polizeigesetzen oder das Verbot von linksunten.indymedia – der Rechtsruck geht einher mit Repressionen gegen die, die sich dagegen wehren; so auch gegen linke Aktivist*innen. Um diese Repressionen noch effizienter und wirksamer
umsetzen zu können, werden wichtige und strömungsübergreifende Strukturen wie die Rote Hilfe kriminalisiert.

 

Solidarität ist eine Waffe, aber kein Verbrechen!

Die Rote Hilfe ist eine legitime Organisation, die Menschen, welche
von staatlichen Repressionen betroffen sind, unterstützt. Sie ist
eine essentielle Struktur für alle die links-politisch aktiv sind. Ein
Verbot der Roten Hilfe ist ein weiterer Angriff auf uns alle und auf
die Idee einer besseren Zukunft – die Idee Solidarität.

Die Kampagne „You can’t evict Solidarity” erklärt sich deshalb
solidarisch mit der Roten Hilfe!

[Harmanli21] 4 Angeklagte weiter in Haft – andere zur “freiwilligen” Rückkehr gezwungen

Ein Artikel eines Genossen von bordermonitoring.eu (https://bulgaria.bordermonitoring.eu/):

Harmanli 21: Four stay in Lyubimets – 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‘

Spendenaufruf für die Balkanroute: No Border – No Nation – Just People

Liebe GenossInnen, FreundInnen und alle da draußen, denen das Schicksal anderer Menschen nicht egal ist.

Erstmal einen riesengroßen Dank an euch Alle für die enorme Hilfsbereitschaft und Unterstützung durch Sach- und Geldspenden, die unseren letzten beiden Aufrufen im Winter 2015 folgten. Die Spendenbereitschaft war überwältigend und immer wieder berührte es uns wie sich Solidarität anfühlen kann.

Viele AktivistInnen fahren an die EU-Außengrenzen, um mit diesen Spenden teilweise über Wochen und Monate entlang der Balkanroute bis nach Griechenland und auf den griechischen Inseln Samos und vor allem Lesbos Geflüchteten zu helfen.

Die Fluchtursachen und -gründen bestehen weiterhin, die Abschottungen der EU-Grenzen wird immer restriktiver und so das Leiden der Menschen auf der Flucht größer. Unsere Solidarität wird niemals enden aber die Spendengelder sind aufgebraucht.

Wir befinden uns im Jahr 2018 und die meisten Medien schweigen zur aktuellen Situation auf den Fluchtrouten und zu denen, die unter den Strapazen der Flucht leiden müssen. Doch nur weil über die Situation nicht mehr berichtet wird, ist diese noch lange nicht vorbei. Noch immer sind Tausende auf der Suche nach Schutz und harren in unbeschreiblichen Zuständen vor der Festung Europas aus. Mehr als 30.000 Menschen erreichten in 2018 die griechischen Inseln, und sitzen dort unter katastrophalen Zuständen über Monate oder Jahre fest. Die ohnehin schlimmen Zustände werden durch den Winter weiter verschärft.

Tausende Menschen hängen entlang der Balkanroute fest, z. B in Bosnien-Herzegowina 2500 Menschen meist in Zelten, davon ein Drittel Familien mit Kindern und Minderjährigen. Die Situation ist katastrophal. Vielen Sachspenden (Decken, Kleidung, Schuhe, Planen, Zelte) sind vor Ort, was fehlt ist Geld für frische Lebensmittel, die wir vor Ort einkaufen.

Wir konnten durch Eure Unterstützung Vieles bewegen, obwohl es in Anbetracht der Lage niemals genug sein wird. So konnte die No Border Kitchen Lesbos in 2017 und 2018 mit jeweils rund 100.000 Euro Spendengelder, die dort in schlimmen Zuständen festsitzenden Menschen unterstützen. Durch warme Mahlzeiten, Getränke, Decken und Kleidung können wir Menschen unterstützen, nicht jedoch ihnen ihre Würde zurückgeben. Wir können ihnen das Gefühl geben, dass sie nicht alleine sind und dass es auch in Europa Menschen gibt, die sich mit ihnen solidarisieren. Inzwischen haben sich unserer Crew auch Geflüchtete aus aller Welt angeschlossen ohne deren Hilfe wir den Support vor Ort gar nicht schaffen könnten.

Um unsere Vorhaben auch jetzt und in Zukunft weiter realisieren zu können, bitten wir Euch (erneut) um Eure Unterstützung.

Immer wieder fahren Gruppen oder Einzelpersonen von uns an die Orte des Geschehens, um sich ein direktes Bild der Lage zu machen und einen Überblick zu gewinnen, an welchen Orten es konkret welcher Hilfe bedarf. Ziel ist dabei auch Informationen zu sammeln, sich mit Geflüchteten und anderen aktiven Gruppen zu vernetzen und vor allem um hierzulande wieder mehr Transparenz zur aktuellen Situation zu schaffen.

Wir wenden uns hiermit nochmal an Euch alle mit der Bitte uns (weiterhin) zu unterstützen. Zum einen sind wir dringend auf Geldspenden angewiesen, um überhaupt noch weiterkochen zu können. Was uns eint – ist – durch unsere Arbeit und die Bereitstellung von Verpflegung und technischer Infrastruktur vor Ort -konkrete Hilfe zu leisten und so die Menschen auf der Flucht bei der Überwindung der Grenzen praktisch zu unterstützen.

Wir bitten alle unsere Freund_innen und Genoss_innen uns nach ihren Kräften und Möglichkeiten zu unterstützen und zu überlegen, wie und wo ihr in Eurem Umfeld evtl. Geld besorgen könnt, damit bei uns weiterhin der Kessel dampft.

Außerdem wäre es super, wenn Ihr diesen Aufruf möglichst breit streuen/weiterleiten könntet.

In Solidarität, die YouCantEvictSolidarity-Kampagne

Infos zur Situation an den Grenzen:

http://balkanroute.bordermonitoring.eu

https://cantevictsolidarity.noblogs.org/

Spendenkonto:

Kontoinhaber*in: VVN/BdA Hannover
Verwendungszweck: just people
Bank: Postbank Hannover
IBAN: DE67 250 100 3000 4086 1305
BIC: PBNKDEFFXXX
(Verwendungszweck beachten!)

 

[Aufruf zur Solidarität mit den Briançon 7]

Solidarität mit den französischen Genoss*innen! Sieben Teilnehmer*innen
der antirassistischen Demo gegen Nazis der Génération Identitaire wird
nun der Prozess gemacht. Das Urteil wird am 13.12.2018 verkündet.

Freiheit für die Briançon 7 – Solidarität ist kein Verbrechen!

Am 13.12. (kein Witz!) verkündet das Strafgericht in Gap das Urteil im Fall der
„Briançon 7“. Ihnen wird die „bandenmäßige Beihilfe zur Einwanderung von Ausländern mit
irregulärem Status auf französischem Boden“ vorgeworfen. Die Staatsanwaltschaft
forderte am Prozesstag des 08.11.2018 sechs Monate Knast auf Bewährung für fünf der
sieben Angeklagten sowie ein Jahr Knast (davon 8 Monate auf Bewährung) für die
anderen zwei. Letzteren beiden wird Rädelsführerschaft vorgeworfen.
Zum Hintergrund: Am 21. April 2018 zogen Nazis der Génération Identitaire einen Zaun
an der französischen Grenze zu Italien und bezogen dort „Stellung“ mit ca.100 Pesonen,
Zäunen und Helikoptern. Sie patrouillierten auf der Grenze und jagten Migrant*innen bis
in die Arme der Polizei. Politik, Polizei und Justiz ließen diese Aktionen ungestört zu.

Am 22. April gab es als Reaktion darauf eine spontane antirassistische Demo auf die
Provokationen. Etwa 400 Teilnehmer*innen liefen vom Grenzpass in Italien nach
Frankreich, unter ihnen einige Migrant*innen. Trotz eines massiven Polizeiaufgebotes
gelangten sie bis nach Briançon.
Dort angekommen wurden drei Personen aus der Demo heraus verhaftet und für mehr
als drei Wochen in Untersuchungshaft festgehalten. Eine weitere Person wurde nach
der Demo am Bahnhof von Polizist*innen im Zuge einer Personenkontrolle verprügelt.
Jetzt wurde das Verfahren gegen diese vier Personen sowie drei weitere eröffnet.
Offenbar ist die Teilnahme an einer solidarischen, antifaschistischen Demo strafbar,
paramilitärisches Gehabe von Rechtsradikalen an der Grenze aber nicht?! Offensichtlich will die französische Justiz ein Exempel statuieren und (praktische) Solidarität mit Migrant*innen kriminalisieren.

In Zeiten in der rassistisches Gedankengut, der sogenannte Rechtspopulismus und damit
einhergehende rechte Provokationen immer mehr zu unserem Alltag gehören, ist es an
uns gegen diese Strukturen eine starke solidarischen Haltung zu zeigen.
Diese kann und sollte ganz unterschiedlich aussehen: Seebrücke und selbstorganisierte
Rettungsboote; Kämpfe gegen Abschiebezentren; Behinderungen von Abschiebungen; Aktionen gegen Nazis und vieles mehr. Diese Art der Solidarität mag aus staatlicher Perspektive kriminell sein – wir sehen das nicht so!

Deshalb wird es zum nächsten Prozesstag mit Urteilsverkündung eine Solidaritätskundgebung vor der französischen Botschaft geben.

Kommt alle am 12.12.2018 um 18:00 Uhr zum Pariser Platz in Berlin!

Solidarität kennt keine Grenzen!
Our passion for freedom is stronger than any prison!

[Moria35] The case of the Moria 35: a 15-month timeline of injustice and impunity

A report by the Legal Center Lesbos (http://legalcentrelesvos.org/2018/11/29/the-case-of-the-moria-35-a-15-month-timeline-of-injustice-and-impunity):

Updates and 15-month history of trial to the case of the Moria35 from 2018 and 2017:

29th November 2018

On Thursday 18th October, the last of the Moria 35 were released from detention. Their release comes one year and three months – to the day – after the 35 men were arbitrarily arrested and subject to brutal police violence in a raid of Moria camp following peaceful protests, on July 18th 2017.

While the Legal Centre Lesbos welcomes the fact that all 35 men have finally been released, we maintain that none of them should ever have been imprisoned to begin with –– let alone for the 10 to 15 months the majority of the Moria 35 spent in punitive, unlawful incarceration.

And while freedom from unjust imprisonment is one thing, freedom in any
broader sense is a different matter. The legal status of all 35 men is
precarious. Six of them have been granted asylum in Greece, but the
majority are now fighting the rejection of their asylum cases; on appeal
or through subsequent applications which are subject to admissibility.
Three individuals have been deported. One individual was illegally
deported without having exhausted his legal remedies in Greece, while
another individual, having spent 9 months in pre-trial detention only to
be subject to a gross miscarriage of justice at criminal trial, signed
up for so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation.

Despite an abject lack of evidence against any of them, 32 of the Moria
35 were convicted of the crime of Dangerous Bodily Harm against police
officers in grossly unjust criminal trial proceedings that took place in
Chios in April 2018. Although their criminal conviction is being
appealed, these men now live under the shadow of 26-month suspended
prison sentences. By contrast, despite numerous videos, reports and
eyewitness testimonies evidencing brutal police violence against the
Moria 35, the public prosecutor decided to closed its investigation into
police brutality in June 2018. Their basis for closing the investigation
was that any use of force on the part of the police was justified,
because the Moria 35 had resisted arrest. This despite the fact that all
35 men had just been found innocent on the charge of resisting arrest.

From the Greek police’s brutally violent, racist mass-arrest of these 35
men; through the grossly unjust, punitive criminal procedure that they
were subject to; to their release from pre-trial detention in April only
for the majority to be transferred directly into immigration detention
in Moria; the case of the Moria 35 over the past 15 months constitutes a
catalogue of the forms of institutional racism and gross human rights
abuses with impunity that are enabled by the intersection of violent
immigration and criminal justice systems in Europe. The following
timeline sets these out to the best of our knowledge, with links to more
detailed reports.

18 July 2017: Police brutality and arrests
At approximately 10:00 on Tuesday 18th July 2017, refugees of different
nationalities gathered in Moria for the second day in a row of peaceful
protests, denouncing inhumane living conditions and demanding the right
to freedom of movement for everyone trapped in Lesvos. The protest
remained peaceful and calm until police arrived at around 13:00 and
began to use tear gas. Many refugees were trapped outside the camp, some
were trapped inside, there was confusion and inside Moria there were
clashes between a handful of protesters and police officers shooting
teargas and throwing rocks. By 15:00 the camp was calm. However, at
approximately 16:00 several dozen riot police who had just arrived on
the scene entered Moria and violently raided the African section of the
camp. They pulled people out of the iso-box containers they lived in,
brutally assaulted seemingly anyone they encountered including a
pregnant woman, and by 16:15 had made 35 arrests. 34 of the 35
individuals arrested were black. One of the arrestees was urgently
hospitalized due to severe injuries sustained at the hands of arresting
officers.

=> Detailed reports, video footage, and an Amnesty International report
urging investigation into police violence amounting to possible torture
can be found here: https://freethemoria35.wordpress.com/media-reports/

19 July: Criminal proceedings initiated
The 34 individuals who had spent the night in Mytilene police station
were brought into Mytilene court in order for the public prosecutor to
initiate criminal proceedings against them. The individual who had spent
the night in hospital due to police violence remained in hospital.
Arrestees reported having been beaten by the police again in the police
station overnight. Some of the men were still bleeding from visible
injuries and had been denied medical attention. Many were brought into
the courthouse barefoot. Criminal proceedings against the Moria 35 were
initiated by the public prosecutor, on a catalogue of identical charges:

Arson with intent to endanger life – contrary to Article 264 of the
Greek Penal Code
Dangerous bodily harm – contrary to Article 309
Damage of foreign property – contrary to Article 382
Using or threatening violence to force an authority or public official
to execute an act within his capacities or to refrain from a legitimate
act – contrary to Article 167
=>
http://www.legalcentrelesbos.org/2017/07/20/hearing-tomorrow-at-mytilene-court-for-moria35/

21-22 July: Preliminary inquiry
Interrogations by the Investigating Judge took place over the course of
two days. Four of the Moria 35 had this procedure postponed due to the
state’s inability to produce translators in their languages. The
procedure was also postponed for the individual who remained hospitalized.

There were solidarity protests outside the courthouse on both days. Many
of the 35 arrested had not even been present at the morning’s peaceful
protest, let alone the clashes between a small number of protesters and
riot police that ensued following the police’s excessive use of tear
gas. This led witnesses to conclude the arrests were arbitrary: that
people were targeted because of race, nationality, and location within
the camp at the time of the police raid; which itself seemed intended to
collectively punish refugees for organised, peaceful resistance. There
was an absolute lack of evidence against any of the Moria 35.

However, despite all this, the 30 individuals who were interrogated by
the Investigating Judge were formally indicted on the catalogue of
exaggerated crimes detailed above and the case was referred to trial.
Many still had visible injuries and their access to food, water and
medical care had been limited. Given the 48-hour window between arrests
and preliminary inquiry, and the lack of lawyers on Lesvos, all 30
defendants were represented by one lawyer from the Legal Centre.

12 of the defendants filed official complaints in court against the
police for excessive use of force. Many had vulnerability status and/or
serious mental and physical health conditions that should have precluded
pre-trial incarceration, which in any case should be a matter of last
resort under both Greek and International law. Yet pre-trial detention
was ordered for all 30 men pursuant to Article 282 of the Greek Code of
Criminal Procedure due to the gravity of the charges and their deemed
lack of appropriate address, despite all being registered residents of
Moria camp.

=> http://www.legalcentrelesbos.org/2017/07/30/free-the-moria-35/

25-26 July: Transfer to prisons outside Lesvos
Amidst misinformation, lack of translation and defendants’ reports of
police intimidation and racism, the 30 individuals for whom pre-trial
detention had been ordered were transferred from Lesvos and divided
between a prison on the island of Chios, and Korydallos and Avlona
prisons in Athens, which were ill equipped to deal with non-Greek
speakers and made visits from friends, family and lawyers extremely
difficult.

Late July: Preliminary inquiry
Immediately upon being discharged from hospital, the individual
hospitalized for a week due to police violence faced the investigating
judge. Though indicted with the same charges, he was not given a
pre-trial detention order and was released pending trial – though
confined to the island of Lesvos with reporting conditions.

September – November: Conclusion of pre-trial proceedings
The right to free trial under the European Convention of Human Rights
(ECHR) makes it an obligation on the state to provide translation in a
language a defendant understands. However, given the Greek state’s
continued failure to do so in the case of 4 of the Moria 35, by the end
of September, the Wolof-speaking defendant himself produced a translator
and was interrogated by the Investigating Judge. By November, the 3
Bambara-speaking defendants had done the same. Thanks to arguments from
the defense team coordinated by the Legal Centre and HIAS, regarding
residency in Moria, health conditions, and the fact that these men had
duly showed up to court once a month for as long as the state had failed
to produce appropriate translators, the 4 defendants were released with
restrictive conditions pending trial.

All 5 defendants – including the individual hospitalized by police
violence – who had been given restrictive measures were forced to remain
within the open-air prison of Lesvos, and to live in Moria camp: the
very place they had been subject to brutal police violence.

=> http://legalcentrelesvos.org/2017/09/30/september-report-on-rights-violations-and-resistance-in-lesvos/
=> http://legalcentrelesvos.org/2017/11/09/october-report-on-rights-violations-and-resistance-in-lesvos/

13 December: Pre-trial detention extended
Despite applications for release on the basis of severe health
conditions being made by defense lawyers, the Municipal Court renewed
the pre-trial detention conditions for 30 defendants for a further 6
months. There was no legal basis for denying the 30 defendants their
right to liberty and presumption of innocence (Article 5 and Article
6(2) ECHR) by ordering pre-trial detention to begin with, particularly
given that none of the defendants had previous convictions and the
prison-like character of the island of Lesvos itself precludes flight.
Pre-trial detention is disproportionately used against foreign national
defendants in Greece. Renewing such pre-trial detention was unduly harsh
and unlawful. The trial date had still not been announced.

=> http://legalcentrelesvos.org/2018/02/10/january-2018-report-on-rights-violations-and-resistance-in-lesvos/

Late February 2018: Trial date and location announced
The trial date was finally set for 20 April 2018, before a ‘mixed jury
Court’ in Chios. There was no apparent explanation for authorities’
decision to move the trial of the Moria 35 to the island of Chios: away
from the solidarity groups that had been supporting them and the many
witnesses to the events on the day of their arrest present in Lesvos.

14 March: Joint statement
The five members of the Moria 35 under restrictive measures on the
island of Lesvos released a collective statement ahead of their trial.

[Excerpt]:

“Our humanity has been denied since we stepped foot in Europe, the
supposed cradle of democracy and human rights. Since we arrived we have
been forced to live in horrible conditions, our asylum cases are not
taken seriously, and most Africans are denied residency in Europe and
face deportation. We are treated like criminals, simply for crossing a
border that Europeans can freely cross.

Now 35 of us have been accused of rioting, destroying property, and
violence, however it was actually the police who attacked us in a
violent and racist raid on the African section of Moria… It was the
police in full riot gear who attacked unarmed migrants with stones,
batons and tear gas… It was the police who damaged property by breaking
the windows and doors of the containers where we were living. Without
concern for people who were inside they threw tear gas into the closed
containers. They dragged people by their hair out of the containers.
They beat anyone they found with batons, their boots, their fists,
including a pregnant woman. It seems we were targeted only because of
our skin colour – because we are black.”

=> https://freethemoria35.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/statement35en.pdf

10-17 April: International solidarity
In the week running up to the Moria 35 trial there were events, protests
and documentary screenings in solidarity with the Moria 35 across
Europe, using the hashtag #FreetheMoria35.

The mobilisations in Greece linked the case of the Moria 35 to the case
of the Petrou Ralli 8, which was on trial the week after the Moria 35
and which shared many characteristics: refugees detained in inhumane
conditions in a notorious detention centre peacefully raising questions
in protest at their conditions, a police response of brutal violence
causing serious injury (broken bones, head injuries), followed by
seemingly arbitrary arrests, indictment on a catalogue of extreme
criminal charges, and dispersal across prisons in Greece for unlawfully
lengthy periods of pre-trial incarceration. These cases were also linked
to a further analogous case known as the ‘Moria 10’, which involved 10
individuals indicted for clashes in Moria one week before the Moria 35
arrests. The patterns of state violence and institutional racism in
these cases, which shared similar timelines, were seen as evidencing the
systematic nature of repression and criminalization of migrant
resistance to border violence in Greece.

=> https://musaferat.espivblogs.net/en/2018/03/13/call_for_solidarity/

=> http://legalcentrelesvos.org/2018/04/16/release-of-documentary-moria-35/

=> https://www.facebook.com/pg/freemoria35/posts/

=> https://cantevictsolidarityenglish.noblogs.org/post/2018/09/07/petrou-ralli-8-a-conversation-with-the-8-of-petrou-ralli/

=> http://legalcentrelesvos.org/2018/05/10/a-second-trial-to-begin-in-chios-in-continued-criminalization-of-asylum-seekers-in-lesvos/

20-27 April 2018: Trial in Chios
The Moria 35 trial finally began on 20th April 2018, before the ‘Mixed
Jury Court’ on Chios. There were only 4 days of proceedings, which ended
on 27th April. The Legal Centre Lesvos coordinated the defense and at
trial the legal defense team was made up of 6 lawyers from the Legal
Centre, Musaferat, HIAS, Lesvos Solidarity, and Aitima. All defendants
were acquitted of the following charges:

Arson with intent to endanger life – contrary to Article 264 of the
Greek Penal Code

Damage of foreign property – contrary to Article 382

Using or threatening violence to force an authority or public official
to execute an act within his capacities or to refrain from a legitimate
act – contrary to Article 167

However, 32 defendants were found guilty of the following charge:

Dangerous bodily harm – contrary to Article 309

All convicted defendants were given a 26-month suspended prison sentence.

A trial observation committee representing 6 international human rights
organisations attended proceedings, and published a detailed Trial
Observation Report of their findings. Greece is a party to the European
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and is therefore obliged under
international law to ‘secure to everyone within (its) jurisdiction the
rights and freedoms’ contained therein. The Trial Observation Committee
found gross breaches of the ECHR to have taken place in respect of the
defendants in the Moria 35 trial. In brief these were as follows––

Article 3 – Prohibition of inhuman treatment

The Committee found the treatment of the Moria 35 defendants to breach
the prohibitions of inhumane treatment under Article 3 ECHR. During the
trial the defendants were given no breaks when they had to go to the
toilet the trial continued without them. They were not provided with
food by the authorities during the duration of each long trial day.

Article 6 – Right to a fair trial

The disproportionate 9 month delay that the Moria 35 were subject to
between arrests and trial constituted a breach of Article 6(1) of the
ECHR, particularly given that 30 of them were subject to detention
conditions which should entail prioritization.

The Greek state systematically failed to provide competent interpreters
in a language the Moria 35 defendants understood. This was the case from
the preliminary inquiry and through the course of proceedings at trial.
At no point were any of the defendants ‘informed promptly, in a language
which he understands and in detail of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him’ Article 6(3)(a) and Article 5(2) ECHR. At the
trial stage, none of the defendants were accorded their right to ‘have
the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak
the language used in court’ as per Article 6(3)(e) ECHR. Translation was
grossly inadequate throughout proceedings. It was not individual: there
was, for example, one translator for 20 French-speaking defendants; and
it was not competent: none of the interpreters were trained or
professional. At one point in proceedings the English translator left
and was replaced by a police officer. There was no Bambara translator
provided for the Bambara-speaking defendant, who was expected to
understand the Wolof translator, himself a refugee, despite not speaking
Wolof.

Lack of translation restricted defendants’ other rights under the right
to free trial, such as their ability to present their case, equality
before the law and equality of arms. These rights under Article 6(1)
ECHR were further violated at trial by the shockingly limited amount of
time each defendant was given to present their testimony. The president
of the court only asked three questions of each of the 35 defendants and
prevented them from saying more. Despite letting the prosecution
witnesses speak for 45 minutes each on average, each of the 35
defendants was only given an average of 7 minutes to speak. Some spoke
for only 3 minutes. Given that all 35 defendants faced maximum prison
sentences of 10 years, and that half of the minutes they were permitted
were taken up with translation; this was deeply unjust. In addition, the
35 defendants shared 6 lawyers. Each lawyer was limited to 11 minutes
for the multiple clients they were representing. This amounted to an
average of 108 seconds of legal defense per defendant.

The report also evidences breaches of the presumption of innocence under
Article 6(2) and impartiality of the tribunal per Article 6(1) ECHR
stemming from the fact that there was no prosecution case against
individual defendants. Evidence on individualized circumstances and
alibis was not permitted. Prosecution witnesses could produce no proof
of the involvement of individual defendants. In the verdict, defendants
were not mentioned individually. Instead the Moria 35 were treated
throughout proceedings as a “guilty group”.

Article 14 – Prohibition of discrimination

Such treatment as a “guilty group” also goes to breaches of the
prohibition of discrimination under Article 14 ECHR. The Committee
report raises concerns that the police raid of solely the ‘African
section’ of Moria despite individuals of various nationalities having
participated in protests was racially biased. Official guidelines for
identification and recognition of suspects were not followed. The report
cites evidence of racist remarks made by the police during arrests:
“black dog”, “this is not Africa”; and racist remarks made by police
officers giving evidence at trial: “they all looked much the same”. In
its conclusion, the Trial Observation Committee report states that “The
35 defendants were not treated in the way other defendants are treated
before the Greek courts, or in the way the ECHR specifies that
defendants should be treated in Europe”.

=> http://legalcentrelesvos.org/2018/04/28/the-moria-35-trial-results-in-conviction-of-32/

=> Trial Observation Report of the Moira 35 case:
http://legalcentrelesvos.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Observation-report-Moria-35-VERSION-COMPLETE-AVEC-LES-ANNEXES.pdf

28 April: From pre-trial incarceration to immigration detention
Following the trial, 5 individuals who had been in prison in Avlona were
transferred to Petrou Rally in Athens. 25 were transferred directly to
detention in Moria, and the 5 who had been confined to Lesvos awaiting
trial traveled back to the prison-like island of Lesvos. The Legal
Centre took on the representation of the men in their asylum cases, with
some support from HIAS.

5 May: Release subject to immigration status
Only the 4 individuals among the Moria 35 who had been granted refugee
status were freed from incarceration. All others were transferred from
penal detention to administrative detention, with recommendations for
their continued detention as asylum seekers because they were seen as a
threat to public security, despite the fact that the court had granted
suspended sentences for all individuals convicted.

10 May 2018: Attempted deportations
The 7 individuals among the Moria 35 whose cases had been rejected on
appeal were scheduled for deportation on 10th May. This despite the fact
that: two of them had been denied legal representation on appeal, which
is a right under Article 44(3) of Greek law 4375; none of them had
exhausted their legal remedies; their criminal convictions were being
appealed; and all of them had claims to residence permits on
humanitarian grounds as victims and/or important witnesses to a serious
crime (police brutality) that was the subject of ongoing proceedings, as
per Article 19A of the amendments to Greek Law 4521 detailed in Law 4332.

However, the deportations of all 7 men were halted at the last minute
thanks to a mobilization of the Legal Centre, the Free the Moria 35
campaign, interventions of the Ombudsman office and the UNHCR, and
petitions to file subsequent asylum applications being made by the legal
team.

=> http://legalcentrelesvos.org/2018/05/05/moria35-update-26-of-the-35-remain-detained/

17 May: ‘Voluntary’ deportation
Having spent 9 months incarcerated only to be subject to a gross
miscarriage of justice, one of the Moria 35 gave up on the Greek
‘justice’ system altogether, signed for ‘Assisted Voluntary Return’ and
was deported to Turkey.

13 June: Deportations
Another 2 of the Moria 35 were deported to Turkey on the morning of 13th
June. Both men were had not exhausted their legal remedies in Greece.
One individual was deported on this day despite still having the legal
recourse of appealing in administrative court open to him. He had
received new evidence in the form of original documents corroborating
his claim for asylum or subsidiary protection. The other individual had
been declaring his express desire to exercise his right to appeal the
rejection of his asylum claim to police for days preceding his
deportation. Lawyers had also spoken to the police department informing
them of their intention to submit an appeal to the asylum service on his
behalf. Yet despite this, both men were deported to Turkey and within a
few weeks to their home countries.

=> http://www.legalcentrelesbos.org/2018/06/14/report-on-rights-violations-and-resistance/

June: Impunity in the police brutality case
Despite the fact that all of the Moria 35 had been found innocent on the
charge of resisting arrest, and despite extensive evidence of police
violence; in June the public prosecutor closed the investigation into
the police brutality that took place on 18th July 2017, on the basis
that there was a lack of evidence, and that the individuals who had
submitted claims against the police had been resisting arrest so the
police’s use of force was necessary.

May – July: Gradual release
In the months that followed the trial, 16 of the Moria 35 were gradually
released. All of the individuals released within a year of their initial
arrest still had pending asylum cases, either at first instance or on
appeal. The 7 who remained incarcerated had cruelly had their
imprisonment due to criminal proceedings seamlessly substituted for
imprisonment due to asylum proceedings: one man whose case had been
closed while he was in prison and unable to reopen it, and 6 who had
been rejected at second instance, but had submitted subsequent applications.

1 September
One of the Moria 35 was finally released, on his asylum case finally
being reopened.

5 September
Of the 6 of the Moria 35 who remained imprisoned in September, 2 men
were particularly vulnerable. They were desperate, suicidal, and had
both attempted suicide on different occasions during the 14 months they
had been incarcerated. One of the individuals was quoted as saying; “We
are not alive in here, so why would we continue to live?”

Both men were finally released on 5th September.

9 – 18 October 2018
The final 4 of the Moria 35 were released over the course of 10 days.

The Legal Centre Lesvos will continue to document the institutionalized
racism, impunity and gross human rights violations associated with this
case, and to fight for justice for the Moria 35. The criminal
convictions of 32 of the Moria 35 have been appealed. At the time of
writing an appeal date has not yet been given.

“…the authorities can not stop the truth from coming out about how
Greece and Europe treat migrants in Lesvos. It is the violent attack by
the police against African migrants which must be investigated. It is
the police who must be brought to justice.”

(Statement of 5 of the Moria 35, March 2018)

[Frankreich/Italien] Solidarität mit den Briancon7

Wir dokumentieren einen Aufruf von Unterstützer*innen:

KUNDGEBUNG zur Urteilsverkündung am 13.12.
12.12.2018 // 18.00 Uhr // PARISER PLATZ in BERLIN

SOLIDARITÄT KENNT KEINE GRENZEN !

Am 21.4.18 zogen Faschist_innen der Generation Identitiare einen Zaun an
der Französischen Grenze zu Italien und bezogen dort “Stellung” mit ca.
100 Personen, Autos und Helikoptern. Sie patrouillierten an der Grenze
und jagten Migrant_innen in die Arme der Polizei. Polizei und Justiz
ließen sie drin gewähren.
Am 22.4.18 gab es eine Antirassistische Demonstration als Reaktion auf
diese Provokation.
Etwa 400 Teilnehmer_innen, unter ihnen einige Migrat_innen, liefen vom
Grenzpass in Italien nach Frankreich. Es kam zu Verhaftungen und 3
Personen wurden für mehr als 3 Wochen in Untersuchungshaft gesteckt.
Eine weitere Personen wurde wärend einer Kontrolle durch die Polizei
verprügelt.
Nun sind 7 Personen von der französischen Justiz der “bandenmäßigen
Beihilfe zur Einwanderung von Ausländern mit irregulärem Status auf
französischem Boden” angeklagt. Die Staatsanwaltschaft fordert Strafen
zwischen sechs Monaten auf Bewährung und einem Jahr Knast.

Offensichtlich will die französische Justiz ein Exempel statuieren und
praktische Solidarität mit Migrant_innen kriminalisieren.

In Zeiten in der Rassist_innen und ihre Provokationen immer mehr zu
unserem Alltag gehören ist es an uns eine solidarische Haltung zu
zeigen, auf dem Mittelmeer in den Alpen oder in Berlin!

12.12. 18 H PARISER PLATZ
SOLIDARITÄT KENNT KEINE GRENZEN !

##############################################################

Bericht über den letzten Prozesstag:

Hier ein knapper Bericht über den Prozesstag in Gap (Aufruf s.u.). Das
Urteil wird am 13.12. erwartet.

Vorgestern waren wir einige am Prozess gegen die 7 von Briançon. Dank
Presseausweis konnten wir in den Gerichtssaal, der auf 60 Plätze
bemessen war. Es war ein Marathon-Tag: der Prozess begann um 8.30h am
Morgen und endete um 01.30h in der Nacht. Wir blieben bis 22 h.

Draussen vor dem Gericht war festliche Demo-Stimmung mit zeitweise 1’000
Menschen. Leute aus mehreren franz. Kooperativen waren vertreten,
darunter Isabelle, die für “Passeurs d’infos” die Stimmung aufgefangen
hat, heute Sa, 18h auf Radio Zinzine Sendung zum Prozess auf Internet:
*www.ecouterradioenligne.com/zinzine-gap*

Der Staatsanwalt liess schlussendlich die Anklage von wegen “Beihilfe
zum illegalen Grenzübertritt als organisierte Bande” fallen, übrig
bleibt lediglich “Beihilfe zum illegalen Grenzübertritt”, was das
mögliche Strafmass mildert. Er erlangt jetzt für zwei Aktivisten aus
Briançon 12 Monate Gefängnis, 8 davon auf Bewährung, 4 in Haft. Für 5
Angeklagte (darunter die ersten sogenannten 3 von Briançon: 2 Schweizer
und 1 Italienerin) forderte er 6 Monate auf Bewährung. Das Urteil wird
am 13. Dezember verkündigt.

[Kroatien] Update zu Gerichtsverfahren gegen zwei Aktivist*innen

This is an update on the court case involving G. and I., a German and an
Italian activist arrested in Croatia in September 2016 whilst helping a
family of 4 undocumented persons to reach Zagreb. The trial situates
itself in the context of the militarization of the European external
borders taking place between Serbia, Croatia and Hungary as well as the
widespread criminalization of migration and acts of solidarity,
affecting most countries.

Due to the progressive tightening of the external European borders since
September 2015 and the closure of the humanitarian corridor, which
temporarily instated some degree of free – although heavily
state-controlled – movement from Greece to central European countries,
the mainly transitory status of the Balkan region has invariably
transformed into a “buffer-zone”. The completion of a physical barrier
on the border between Hungary and Serbia was merely one amongst the
developments which led to thousands of people being stuck in Serbia,
with the only option of crossing illegally into Europe and facing not
only criminalization but also police violence. In fact, illegal
pushbacks carried out by border police both in Hungary and Croatia at
the expense of people who attempted to cross the border from Serbia and
expressed intent to request asylum, became standard practice and
continue up to this day. Beatings and dehumanizing acts against migrants
were and still are methodically perpetrated as well as overlooked by the
hypocritical Europe of “human rights”. In response, active humanitarian
and political groups started to record reports about police violence at
the borders and compiled the collected information in a project named
borderviolence.eu, in the attempt to show the systematic nature of these
events.

Among the most vulnerable and affected by these political developments
are those who do not possess enough capital to hire the services of
smugglers – potentially several times due to push-backs-, families and
minors. In November 2017, Madina, a six-year-old child from Afghanistan
was hit by a train and died as the Hussiny family was being illegally
sent back to Serbia on foot, in the dark, along the railroad tracks, by
overlooking Croatian authorities. Regardless of the child´s death, the
family was prevented from requesting asylum. The difficulty to reach the
E.U. forces many migrants to reside in Serbia for prolongued periods,
often in a limbo of rights and prospects.
The existence of so called “transit zones” on the Hungarian border,
which should supposedly create a safer and legal route for families and
children, only produced long waiting lists and lengthy processes and is
not a viable option for people traveling without a family. Furthermore
the waiting lists often created a corrupt business, which was connected
to deals with the commissariat or a lot of money for getting your name
on top of the list.

As everywhere else in Europe, actions of solidarity with people on the
move are met with a tough stance by Croatian authorities. On the morning
of the 21st of September 2016, G. and I. were driving in a car with the
family of 4 persons along a countryside road and ran into a border
police roadblock, about 50km from the Serbian border. As the family was
unable to provide identification, they were immediately brought to the
police station of Tovarnik, a small town near the Serbian border. There,
after hours of interrogation, G. and I. were finally detained as well
and awaited trial on the grounds of favouring illegal entry, movement
and stay in the country. The family´s right to request asylum was denied
– as it is standard practice – but they were nonetheless detained for
three days in order to testify as main witnesses against the two
activists, before being pushed back to Serbia.

The conditions in detention were particularly bad for the family. They
had to stay in the cell at the police station for three days. During
that period of time, only one of them was allowed to leave the cell for
one cigarette. The food which was given to them was little and they were
denied access to medical care for the sick father. Additionally it is
not sure, if they were being asked or interviewed by the police.
Probably one of them was forced to sign a paper which was not
translated. This would explain the false statement the police did about
the fantasy interview with the family (see below). G. and I., who were
unexpectedly kept in the same cell the whole time, had scarce access to
the lawyers and external information, so they were mostly waiting for
the first trial date.
After the first trial of the case, the family was pushed back to Serbia,
although they asked for asylum. But this was not taken serious by the
officials, as it is a standard procedure in Croatia. During their
push-back they were threatened by the police to be beaten up.

The criminal charges brought against G. and I. are grounded in a false
testimony collected from the familyaccording to which there would have been an economic exchange between the family and the activists. At the time, according to Croatian and
European law, human trafficking invariably involved a monetary exchange
or some degree of exploitation, a clause which is being ignored or at
times fabricated in order to criminalize acts of solidarity from civil
society. It is still unclear how the false statement was collected and
signed by the family, however during the trial there was a turn around
moment in which the one witness who was brought forth to testify against
G. and I. confirmed the version of events expressed by the activists,
denying the truthfulness of the previous statement. Nonetheless the two
activists were sentenced to one month of investigative prison, under the
baseless conviction that they could flee. After only 11 days, thanks to
an incredible show of international solidarity, 14.000 euros were raised
in order to bail them out.
After two years of wait, they are still awaiting to be notified of the
first official trial date. The only action taken by the police so far
was a phone search, in the attempt to find any reference to previous
knowledge of the family and a possible monetary exchange. Although a
plea deal was offered by the state, G. and I. have not accepted it in
their refusal to accept a wrongful conviction. In case of being declared
guilty, the plaintiff will propose a 8 months prison sentence on parole
and the payment of a fine, in addition to the lawyer fees that are
estimated to reach 10.000 euros all together.

Militarization and externalization of the European border regime are
first priority of the European Union. Whereas the E.U. is making Deals
with dictatorships and authoritarian regimes (i.e. EU-Turkey Deal), acts
of support and of solidarity are more and more criminalized. These
political tendencies are alerting! We will keep fighting and standing in
solidarity with people on the move and with people accused of crimes of
solidarity!

Solidarity will win!

Against all borders and cages!

[Harmanli21] Vier von 21 Angeklagten bleiben im Gefängnis

Artikel von Genoss*innen aus Bulgarien (https://harmanli21.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/four-out-of-21-accused-remain-in-a-closed-door-camp-in-lyubimets-in-connection-with-the-riots-in-harmanli/).

Four out of 21 accused remain in a closed-door camp in Lyubimets, in connection with the riots in Harmanli

Abstract of the court session which took place on 24th and 25th of October 2018 to decide the case of the ones considered as participants in the riots erupted at the largest refugee camp for accommodating people in need of international protection on 24th of November 2018.

The legal proceeding against the accused migrants has finally started. 7 attended out of the 10 that were present at the sessions until recently. It has became clear that three of them have previously asked for reconsidering their detention measures as letting them to go back to Afghanistan. The Court has respected the request and the other three have given a claim of the same kind which has been approved during the session as well. This means that at the moment 4 out the initial 21 accused are continuing to stay in the closed facility of Luybimets. In all likelihood they will struggle to prove their innocence.

During the two days of the judicial proceeding, there were around 30 witnesses of the events from 24.11.2016 testifying the trial. Most of them were representatives of the riot police from Pleven, Plovdiv and Kazanlak. Although some employees of the State Agency for Refugees (SAR), in particular those from the Registration Reception Center (RRC) of Harmanli were also officially summoned, there were no migrants speaking up. The accused themselves were yet not given a voice to share their perspective on the open resistance back in November. Among the police witnesses neither seniors, nor commanders of the police actions during the riots were present. However, according to their statements their commanders were negotiating with some of the protesting migrants but no one could not have said what the gist of the negotiations was. Moreover, none of the police officers was able to clearly state that the accused present in the court hall were direct participants in the riots. Yet, most of the officers have experienced minor injuries.

As already mentioned, the rest of the witnesses were representatives of SAR employed at RRC – Harmanli. In their hearing few things became clear – that the capacity of the camp was seriously exceeded during the days prior to the riots; and that there was an ongoing fuzzy procedure regarding the quarantine due to quite a high degree of delusions coming from the local nationalist political parties. Moving on, and grounded on their words, (pre-)conditions to determine whether or not the camp residents should have been kept in isolation did not exist. Despite, all of them were prohibited to leave the camp premises. Interestingly, the access to the working places of the SAR employees at the RRC was not denied (although the camp was supposedly in quarantine). Thus, they have became unwillingly eyewitnesses to the incident. The SAR representatives could also not claim if some of the present accused migrants was part of the group, 40 – 50 member sized (out of 2 000 – 3 000 migrants accommodated at the reception center, but closed back then; most of them were protesting against the inhumane situation they were put under unlawfully), considered as the main actors who ended in clashes with the police. Lastly, according to the SAR statements, almost all of the camp residents gathered at the ex-parade ground to express discontent in the time of the riots.

Amongst the officially summoned riot’s observers, only one policeman and one employee of SAR (who could be easily mistaken with an employee of another agency called National security), pointed on three of the accused as indirect participants in the riots. According to them, they should be suspected of instigating the others, however, no solid evidence was presented.

After all, the caused damage to the reception center lowers to one common lounge room (where the food was previously given). Some of the policemen have told before the court audience that a damage was also made over the water cannon, most probably caused by makeshift slings. The on-field-officers were pelted with stones and other objects as this was accompanied with obscene gestures and insults such as “Fuck the Police!” and “Open the gates, open the borders!”.

It is important to drawn attention on the fact that by now, in all of the judicial proceedings, the police violence was out of question. It is this physical force that erupted after the end of the riot, and performed in the migrant’s rooms. Some of the official defenders were asked for this, and their response was that the accused did not say anything on the topic. It is more than obvious those appointed defenders do not have any intentions neither to voice the issue, nor to signal the prosecutor.

None of the attendants pleaded guilty to the charge of the accusations. The very few and not persuasive testimonies are partially based on a video recording that we never saw. However, according to the appointed lawyers the recording is of a bad quality, and identification would not really be possible.

Two people supported the migrants by raising a banner, at which the migrants reacted positively.