18.12.2019: Nach der gestrigen Räumung der Villa Kouvelos in Marousi erfolgten heute morgen 3 weitere Räumungen in Koukaki, einem Stadtteil östlich der Akropolis. Die Bewohner hatten sich verbarrikadiert und die Cops mussten sich gewaltsam Zugang über die Nachbargebäude verschaffen. Dabei überrumpelten sie Nachbarn und mißhandelten jene, die nicht kooperieren wollten. Ein Anwohner wurde mit dem Kopf auf den Steinboden geworfen, andere Bewohner mussten halbnackt und gefesselt im Hinterhof vor vermummten Spezialeinheiten knien, es gab 10 Festnahmen.
Zeitgleich wurde auf dem zentralen Platz von Exarchia von der rechten Regierung ein Weihnachtsbaum aufgestellt und feierlich geschmückt. All das scheint von langer Hand geplant, denn schon gestern berichteten die informierten Mainstreammedien über bevorstehende “festliche Räumungen”. An Zynismus ist das kaum zu überbieten und jeder der die griechichen Verhältnisse kennt, weiß mit welcher Freude die Planer der “Neuen Demokratie” ihre Aktionen vorbereiten.
Die Bilder die heute entstanden, erinnern an Militärdiktaturen, werden aber in den sozialen Medien von griechischen Nazis zusammen mit Konservativen und anderen Bürgern der Mitte gleichsam als legitime Durchsetzung von “Recht und Ordnung” gefeiert. Ihre “Argumente” berufen sich meist auf den Schutz von Privateigentum, ignorierend dass es sich bei den Räumungen um staatliche Gebäude handelt, die zudem seit Jahren leer standen und ungenutzt waren. Aber egal, denn selbst wenn dem nicht so wäre, würden sie private Spekulations- und Profitinteressen dem Recht auf ein Dach über dem Kopf vorziehen. Man könnte endlose Texte schreiben und versuchen, diesen Leuten den Sinn und Zweck von Besetzungen zu erklären, aber es ist wie überall auf der Welt: Nazis und Rassisten sind Argumentationsresistent und sie interessieren sich nicht für das bessere Leben und die Utopie. Ihre Ziele sind andere als die unseren und wir befinden uns längst mit ihnen im Krieg.
no border – no nation – just people: Spendenaufruf im Dezember 2019
Liebe Freund_innen 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 unserem erneuten Spendenaufruf im Winter 2018 folgte. Die Spendenbereitschaft war überwältigend und immer wieder berührte uns die breite Solidarität.
Auch wenn die meisten Medien zur aktuellen Situation auf den Fluchtrouten schweigen und die Situation der Geflüchteten wenig Aufmerksamkeit findet, sind noch immer Tausende Menschen auf der Suche nach Schutz und harren in unbeschreiblichen Zuständen vor der Festung Europa oder auf der Balkanroute aus. Die ohnehin schlimmen Zustände werden sich während des Winters weiterhin verschärfen.
Die Fluchtursachen und -gründe bestehen weiterhin und mit einem erneuten völkerrechtswidrigen Angriffskrieg der Türkei in Syrien werden weitere Menschen zur Flucht gezwungen. Als Reaktion auf entstehende Fluchtbewegungen wird die Abschottung und Überwachung der EU-Grenzen immer restriktiver und das Leiden der Menschen auf der Flucht, die immer riskantere Wege wählen müssen, größer.
Mehr als 15.000 Menschen sitzen zurzeit unter katastrophalen Zuständen über Monate oder Jahre auf der griechischen Insel Lesbos im Camp Moria fest, das nur für maximal 3000 Menschen gedacht war. Selbst mit dem Wissen über die Situation, ist es kaum zu ertragen, dies mit eigenen Augen zu sehen. Insbesondere die hohe Anzahl von kleinen Kindern ist immer wieder erschreckend. Entlang der Balkanroute müssen Hunderte Menschen an den Grenzen bei Minusgraden, Schnee und Regen, ohne sanitäre Anlagen, auf der blanken Erde schlafen. Dazu kommt die Gewalt durch Polizei und Militär u.a. bei illegalen Push-Backs. Es verlangt uns allen viel ab, vor dieser Situation nicht zu kapitulieren, sondern weiterhin entsprechend unseren Möglichkeiten jeden einzelnen Menschen zu sehen und zu unterstützen.
Trotzdem fahren wir und viele andere Aktivist_innen noch immer an die EU-Außengrenzen, um uns ein direktes Bild der Lage zu machen und einen Überblick zu gewinnen, an welchen Orten es notwendig und sinnvoll ist, mit euren Spenden teilweise über Wochen und Monate Geflüchtete entlang der Balkanroute und auf den griechischen Inseln Samos und Lesbos zu unterstützen. Ziel ist dabei auch immer, Informationen zu sammeln, sich mit Geflüchteten und anderen aktiven Gruppen zu vernetzen und vor allem hierzulande wieder mehr Transparenz zur aktuellen Situation zu schaffen.
Unsere Solidarität wird niemals enden, aber die Spendengelder sind aufgebraucht.
Deshalb wenden wir uns heute nochmal an euch mit der Bitte, uns (weiterhin) zu unterstützen.
Die No Border Kitchen Lesbos hat in 2019 erneut – u.a. mit euren Spenden und insgesamt fast 100.000 Euro Spendengeldern – die dort festsitzenden Menschen durch warme Mahlzeiten, Getränke, Decken und Kleidung praktisch solidarisch unterstützt. Wir können ihnen zwar nicht ihre Würde zurückgeben, aber das Gefühl, dass sie nicht allein sind und dass es in Europa auch Menschen gibt, die sich mit ihnen solidarisieren. Inzwischen haben sich dem Kollektiv auch Geflüchtete aus aller Welt angeschlossen; ohne sie wäre der Support vor Ort nicht in diesem Maße leistbar.
Das feministische Frauenzentrum Bona Fide in Montenegro hat in den letzten anderthalb Jahren über 2000 Fliehende aufgenommen. Bis zu 60 Menschen pro Nacht werden Verpflegung, Nahrung, medizinische Versorgung, Kleidung, Duschen und Waschmöglichkeiten zur Verfügung gestellt. Auch dieses Projekt wurde durch eure Spenden unterstützt.
Wir haben mit euren Spenden des Weiteren auch Initiativen und soziale Zentren in Griechenland und der Türkei unterstützt, in denen Geflüchtete wohnen, die Menschen auf der Flucht unterstützen bzw. sich für die Rechte Geflüchteter und Bewegungsfreiheit einsetzen.
Was uns eint, ist, durch unser solidarisches Handeln und die Bereitstellung von Verpflegung und technischer Infrastruktur vor Ort konkrete Hilfe zu leisten und so die Menschen auf der Flucht praktisch zu unterstützen.
Wir konnten durch eure Unterstützung Vieles bewegen. Um unsere Vorhaben auch jetzt und in Zukunft weiter realisieren zu können, bitten wir alle unsere Freund_innen, Genoss_innen und solidarische Menschen, uns nach ihren Kräften und Möglichkeiten mit Spenden zu unterstützen oder zu überlegen, wie und wo ihr in eurem Umfeld Gelder besorgen könnt, damit bei uns weiterhin der Kessel dampft.
Teilt gerne auch überall diesen Aufruf.
“Can’t Evict Solidarity” als Teil der Kampagne “No Border – No Nation – Just People”
Infos zur Situation an den Grenzen:
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!
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.”
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!
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
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
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
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
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.!
Artikel zuerst veröffentlicht auf enough is enough 14 am 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.
Yannis Youlountas, August 26, 2019
Today, Tuesday August 27, there wull be several protests and solidarity actions:
Today! At 11am a call to support the GARE arrestees
Interview zur Situation der “smuggling cases” – zuerst veröffentlicht von dm aegean:
Not only European sea rescue organizations are criminalized. Hundreds of migrants seeking protection in Europe are immediately arrested after their arrival by boat on the Greek Islands. They are accused of human smuggling.
The police is looking for the people who were driving the boat. These people are either refugees who could not afford their journey in a rubber dinghy and accept to steer the boat or Turkish citizen not knowing the risk they occur.
One trial against a “smuggler” lasts less than half an hour. In nearly all cases, the accused migrants are found guilty. Their average sentence is about 44 years in prison that is to be served for about 19 years. The average fines imposed are over 370.000 Euros.
Artikel zuerst veröffentlicht von dm aegean und V.H.
The following short report is based on data collected by the organization Christian Peacemaker Teams Lesvos (CPT-Lesvos) who has been monitoring smuggling trials since 2014. All graphs have been made by CPT-Lesvos. An in-depth analysis of the data collected will be published in autumn 2019.
Criminalizing Migration and Escape Aid
Many people who reach the Greek islands in rubber dinghies have been travelling for months or years to find freedom and safety in the European Union. But surviving the crossing of the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece does not mean that they eventually reached safety.
On the Greek hotspot islands, some migrants are regularly arrested from their boats and directly detained and accused of human smuggling. The European Union claims:
“Fighting and preventing human smuggling and trafficking is one of the priorities of the European Union and crucial to address irregular migration in a comprehensive way.”
Jamil from Afghanistan (name changed) experienced what this means. He was sentenced to 90 years in prison of which he will have to serve 25 years and was also convicted to a 13,000 Euro penalty. Jamil was captured driving a refugee boat from Greece to Lesvos. He could not afford to pay for his wife’s and his own journey, so he accepted the offer from the smuggler who asked him to drive the boat and return to get a free ride with his wife. He did not know that driving a boat would be considered a crime. While his wife now lives in Germany, he is still imprisoned – he appealed the court decision but was again convicted.
His example shows that the maxim of fighting human smuggling is not only used to criminalize civilian sea rescue as in the cases of the recent accusations against the captain of the Sea Watch 3 and the crew of the rescue boat Iuventa. It however impacts people who do not hold European passports much more directly. Many of them come as refugees themselves, intending to seek asylum in Europe. While European sea rescuers have so far only been accused for crimes but not convicted, hundreds of migrants have been sentenced to decades in prison with excessive charges.
The organization Christian Peacemaker Teams Lesvos (CPT-Lesvos) has been monitoring the smuggling trials since 2014. They found that most of the people accused of smuggling are Turkish citizens and some of them migrants from other countries seeking protection in Europe. All people arrested are male. CPT-Lesvos member Rûnbîr Serkepkanî explains:
“What is common among most of them is that they are poor, they are students, they are migrants who couldn’t afford paying for the travel to the Aegean islands. (…) If you are a Turkish citizen – we have many migrants who are Turkish who have applied for asylum here in Greece – you are automatically accused of being the smuggler or the driver of the boat.”
Rûnbîr Serkepkanî, CPT-Lesvos, March 2019
Dariusz Firla from CPT-Lesvos describes how people labelled as “smugglers” are often identified:
“When the Coast Guard or FRONTEX pick up refugees at sea, they usually ask directly: “Who drove the boat?”. Sometimes people even say, “That was me,” because they don’t know it’s a crime. In some cases, it is simply a matter of refugees who paid less and drive the boat for this, but often it is Turks from poor regions who, for example, had no work and were hired by the smugglers for some pocket money to go and return the boat. Sometimes they are beaten bloody after their arrest until they arrive at the port.”
Dariusz Firla, CPT Lesvos, June 2017
CPT-Lesvos interviewed Tarek (name changed) from Syria who has been detained in Chios prison for 14 months. He explained: “I was beaten from the moment I was arrested at sea until arriving at the police station. I was bleeding.”
After their arrest, people are held in pre-trial detention. CPT-Lesvos found that migrants are on average detained for 7 months before their first trial. There were also cases where the trial was postponed twice, leading to 29 months of pre-detention.
A farce of a court case
One of the major problems in court is a shocking lack of deep processing. CPT-Lesvos timed the duration of 28 trials and found that the average duration of an individual trial was only 28.5 minutes, while the average duration of a joint trial was 43 minutes. Obviously, this makes a thorough investigation of the question of guilt impossible. Furthermore, the translation within the trials is extremely poor.
In many cases, the defendants are sentenced even if there is hardly any evidence against them. Dariusz Firla explains:
“Sometimes there is only the Coast Guard as witness. For the judges, it can be sufficient if the witness identifies the defendant as the driver of the boat. In one case, the Coast Guard even stated that he had not been present at the rescue operation himself, but that his colleague had told him that the defendant was guilty.”
Dariusz Firla, CPT Lesvos, June 2017
On top of the lack of deep processing by the judges, the quality of the court-appointed lawyers poses a major problem, especially since most lawyers are only appointed at the day of the trial and have no means to do any investigation for the defence. Sometimes, state or private lawyers also do not appear before the court, as in the case of Tarek (name changed), who had spent 14 months in pre-trial detention. Tarek’s family sold whatever they could to pay for a Greek lawyer, but the lawyer failed to show up on the day of the trial and he was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Life long sentences
In nearly all cases, the accused migrants are found guilty of human smuggling and in some cases also of entry to Greece without permission and disobedience. Rûnbîr Serkepkanî states:
“The punishment of people who are accused with or charged with smuggling is higher than murder in Greece. So it is more serious to drive a boat which carries migrants to the Greek islands than murdering people.”
Rûnbîr Serkepkanî, CPT-Lesvos, March 2019
The sentences are calculated adding factors such as the number of people transported, transport without life vests, and if their lives were put in danger (e.g. through capsizing of the boat), which is why the sentence can exceed 100 years. Since the maximum period of factual imprisonment in Greece is 25 years, the sentences is then reduced accordingly. In some cases, mitigating circumstances are taken into account, reducing the penalty to about ten years. Sometimes the deportation of the convicted person is ordered directly after the release. In fact, looking at 41 cases between 2016 and 2017, CPT-Lesvos found that the average sentence of the trials they monitored was about 44 years in prison with an expected actual duration in prison of about 19 years. In addition, there are huge fines imposed, on average more than 370.000 Euros.
Average Sentence (41 cases)
Average time the sentence is to be served(41 cases)
(1) human smuggling (illegal transportation in order to earn money)
(1) human smuggling (illegal transportation in order to earn money) (2) entry to Greece without permission
(1) human smuggling (illegal transportation in order to earn money) (2) entry to Greece without permission (3) disobedience
The European incarceration of the marginalized
The necessity to prevent human smuggling has been normalized in the European Union. Arrests are supported by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency FRONTEX and hardly any politician would question the necessity to prevent human smuggling at the EU external borders. The actions of the Greek state and courts are either tacitly supported or ignored.
The EU Commission, FRONTEX and interior ministries tend to mention the need to fight human smuggling in one breath with the necessity to save lives and ensure protection of humans. This was especially made possible through the convergence of discourses around human trafficking, human smuggling and escape aid. The EU claims:
“While trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling are two different crimes subject to different legal frameworks they are closely interlinked.”
Trafficking and smuggling may overlap in some cases, however, they are in fact two completely different issues. Trafficking is a forced transfer of people, connected to kidnapping, exploitation and modern slavery, while human smuggling is a response on the restrictive border policies preventing even refugees to be able to cross borders in a legal way.
For the majority of the worldwide population, there is no safe passage and no legal way to enter an EU country and seek asylum or receive a working visa. People are forced to embark on illegalized deadly routes and have no other option but to use the service of facilitators that are in many cases excessively overpriced and risky. The facilitation of people’s journeys is illegalized even if their right to stay is approved through an asylum decision afterwards. Destroying smuggling networks will not save lives – people rely on them to save their own lives.
As the example of Greece shows, the people who are arrested in the fight against human smuggling are exactly those already suffering most from the EU border policies. In many cases, they had no choice and are themselves seeking protection. The anti-smuggling policies at the external border of Greece only hit the smallest link in a chain. Since people often have neither information on the risks they undergo nor a choice, these policies do not even have a deterring effect and only follow a senseless ideology of punishment. Without any need, the lives of marginalized people are destroyed in devastating ways. It is migrants and refugees seeking protection – unheard and without any lobby – who have to pay with their lives and dreams for these misguided and inhumane European policies.
“Aufstehn, ihr Toten! Heute besetzen wir das Panthéon, wir, die EinwandererInnen ohne Papiere, BewohnerInnen der (Not-) Unterkünfte, MieterInnen der Straße. Wir haben keine Papiere, keine Stimme, kein Gesicht für die französiche Republik. Wir kommen zusammen auf dem Grab eurer großen Männer um eure Schändungen anzuprangern, die der Erinnerung unserer Kameraden, unserer Väter und Mütter, unserer Brüder und Schwestern im Mittelmeer, in der Straßen von Paris, in den Lagern und Gefängnissen. Frankreich fährt fort mit der Skaverei auf andere Art. Unsere Väter sind für Frankreich gestorben. Und die Toten bleiben tot und sollen in Frieden ruhen. Vorgestern haben wir die Grenze angegriffen, indem wir den Air France Terminal im Flughafen Cherles de Gaulle bestzten. Es ist dort, wo die französische Polizei uns in die Flugzeuge nach Algier, Dakr, Khartum, Bamako oder Kabul verfrachtet hat. Von dort ist Djiby deportiert worden! Gestern haben wir den Turm von Ellor in La Défence und die Hauptdirektion des Arbeitsamtes besetzt. Wir waren dort um den Chefs, die uns erniedrigen und das Rückgrat brechen, zu sagen: Die Angst hat das Lager gewechselt! Heute fahren wir fort, die Schläge zurückzugeben an den Staat und seinen Rassismus, in Frankreich und in Europa. Wir sind gekommen um unsere Würde zu verteidigen. Wir flehen niemanden mehr an und wir werden unsere Rechte mit der Kraft des Kampfes herausreißen! Wir sind gekommen um euch zu sagen, dass das Motto Frankreichs für die Fremden Erniedrigung, Ausbeutung, Deportation ist. Frankreich für dort Krieg, beutet unsere Ressourcen aus und entscheidet für und mit unseren korrupten Staaten. Frankreich für hier Krieg gegen uns. WIR BESETZEN,
weil es 200 000 freie Wohnungen in Paris gibt, und dabei die Unseren unter den Auffahrten des Périphérique schlafen und das Rathaus gestern die Straßen des Camps Avenue Wilson in Saint Denis eingezäunt hat.
Weil im Lager von Thiais, wie in allen anderen, die Polizei heute morgen die Bewohner bis in ihre Wohnungen verfolgt hat.
Weil wir die Befreiung unserer Schwarzwesten-Kameraden verlangen, die in Verwahrzentren und anderswo gefangen sind.
Für die Abschaffung der Gefängnisse für Fremde! Wir kämpfen nicht nur für Papiere, sonder gegen das System, das die Papierlosen erschafft. Wir werden keinen Bullen oder Schalterbeamten mehr bezahlen um einen Termin zu bekommen. Wir wollen nicht mehr mit dem Innenminister und seinen Präfenkturen verhandeln müssen WIR WOLLEN JETZT MIT DEM MINISTERPÄSITENTEN EDOUARD PHILIIPE SPRECHEN! Wir bleiben hier, bis der letzte von uns seien Papiere bekommt und damit diejenigen, die kommen werden, das Recht zu bleiben bekommen. An alle, die revoltieren, hier, im Sudan oder in Algerien, An unsere Kameraden, an alle, die gegen die Ausbeuter kämpfen, An alle, die glauben, dass kein Mensch illegal ist, An alle, die es leid sind, alle 5 Jahre der extremen Rechten den Riegel vorzuschieben und die überzeugt sind, dass der Kampf gegen den kommenden Rassismuns der Kampf gegen den existierenden Ressisum bedeutet. Papiere und Wohnungen für alle! Bewegungs- und Niederlassungfreiheit! Es lebe der Kampf der Schwarzwesten! Schwarzwesten in den Kampf!“