Tag Archives: Haft

[Moria6] #FreeTheMoria6: Moria 6 sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after fire in Moria camp

Press Release 13/06/2021 from the Solidarity Campaigne #FreeTheMoria6

(German and Spanish below)

Moria 6 sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after fire in Moria camp

Göttingen/Chios/Lesvos, 13.06.2021

Yesterday, Saturday 12 June, four teenage asylum seekers were found guilty of ‘arson with risk to human life’ and sentenced to ten years imprisonment at Chios court after the fire in Lesvos’ Moria camp. Despite documents proving that three of the accused were minors at the time of arrest, they were tried as adults. Two of the six defendants had already been sentenced in March at the juvenile court in Lesvos.

Over 70 European organisations and hundreds of individuals had made the call for a fair and transparent trial. Despite a lack of clear evidence of the four defendants’ involvement in the multiple fires, they were found guilty after a two-day trial.

Yesterday’s verdict came as no surprise to international trial observers who criticised the lack of evidence and spoke of an unfair trial procedure. Only 15 people were allowed in the courtroom. The public, including journalists, a delegation of international observers, and a representative of the UNHCR, was prevented from observing proceedings. At least six police officers were in the room – a disproportionate number that was not necessary to secure the court. A strong crowd of people showed their support for the defendants in front of the court building.

The six defendants were presented as guilty from the moment of their arrest. The Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, had already stated in an interview with CNN on 16 September 2020 that ‘The camp was set on fire by six Afghan refugees who were arrested.’

None of the fifteen prosecution witnesses who testified in court had seen the defendants on the night of the alleged crime. Defence lawyer Natasha Dailiani (Legal Center Lesvos) stated: ‘The only witness who identified the accused did not present himself to the court. His written testimony was full of inconsistencies.’ Lawyers claimed that the witness had only given police six first names, common among the population of the camp, which was the basis for their arrest.

Nevertheless, the three judges and four jurors unanimously ruled that the defendants were guilty of arson with endangerment to human life, and the aggravating circumstance of the destruction of private property.

The four accused had already been in pre-trial detention for nine months before the trial. A request by their lawyers to have the case heard by the Juvenile Court was rejected. Witnesses for the defence spoke of outward harassment by the court.

The two other defendants, officially recognised as minors, had already been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by the Lesvos juvenile court in March 2021 in what observers labeled an unfair trial.

After the end of today’s trial, Annina Mullis, trial observer on behalf of Democratic Lawyers Switzerland (DJS) and European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), summarised:

“Based on the impressions gathered outside the court building and the detailed information provided by the lawyers, I agree with their assessment that the trial as a whole does not meet the standards of a fair trial.”

Defence lawyer Effie Doussi states,

“We will exhaust all legal remedies to ensure that the accused get a fair trial and a clear verdict showing that they are innocent.”

Oda Becker, an activist and member of the Free the Moria 6 solidarity campaign, has followed both trials and is in ongoing contact with those affected along with their family and friends. Commenting on the trial she said, “We will continue to support the wrongfully convicted boys and their families in solidarity! The case of the Moria 6 is not the first time that migrants have been arbitrarily arrested and charged in Greece. This practice has long been part of the inhumane EU border regime. However, in the current political environment, the criminalisation of migration has reached a new level, as have the illegal pushbacks of migrants by the authorities.”

Further information and contact:

Valeria Hänsel (speaker of the campaigne)

E-Mail: freethemoria6@riseup.net

Twitter: #FreeTheMoria6

Blog: https://freethemoria6.noblogs.org/


Politisches Urteil gegen vier jugendliche Geflüchtete der Moria 6 nach Brand im Lager Moria +++ Trotz Mangel an Beweisen Verurteilung zu Haftstrafe von 10 Jahren +++ Prozessbeobachter_innen kritisieren Unregelmäßigkeiten im Verfahren und die Vorverurteilung der Angeklagten

Göttingen/Chios. 12.06.2021

Nach dem Brand im Lager Moria wurden am heutigen Samstag vier jugendliche Geflüchtete auf Chios wegen “Brandstiftung mit Gefährdung von Menschenleben” trotz Minderjährigkeit zu 10 Jahren Gefängnishaft verurteilt. Zwei der insgesamt sechs Angeklagten waren bereits im März vor dem Jugendgericht in Lesbos verurteilt worden. Nach dem heutigen Urteil kritisieren internationale Prozessbeobachter*innen den Mangel an Beweisen und sprechen von einem unfairen Verfahren, bei dem die Öffentlichkeit ausgeschlossen wurde. Vor dem Gerichtsgebäude zeigten dennoch dutzende Menschen ihre Solidarität mit den Angeklagten.

Die lautstarke Forderung von über 70 europäischen Organisationen und hunderten Einzelpersonen nach einem transparenten Prozess wurde nicht erfüllt. Trotz des Fehlens eindeutiger Beweise für die Beteiligung der vier Angeklagten an den mehrfachen Bränden, wurden sie nach einem zweitägigen Prozess schuldig gesprochen.

Es waren nur 15 Personen im Gerichtsaal zugelassen; Öffentlichkeit, Jourrnalist_innen und angereiste juristische Prozessbeobachter_innen wurden ausgeschlossen. Gleichzeitig waren mindestens sechs Polizeibeamt_innen im Raum – eine unverhältnismäßige und unnötige Anzahl, die zur Sicherung des Gerichts nicht notwendig gewesen wäre.

Die insgesamt sechs Angeklagten waren von vornherein als Schuldige präsentiert worden. So hatte auch der Minister für Migration und Asyl, Notis Mitarakis, bereits am 16. September 2020 in einem Interview mit CNN erklärt: “Das Lager wurde von sechs afghanischen Flüchtlingen angezündet, die verhaftet worden sind.”

Aber keiner der 15 Belastungs-Zeug_innen, die vor Gericht ausgesagt haben, hatte die Angeklagten in der angeblichen Tatnacht gesehen. Das Gericht stützte sich einzig auf die schriftliche Aussage eines nicht mehr auffindbaren Zeugens, der die Angeklagten gesehen haben will, wie sie in der ersten Brandnacht im Camp Moria Feuer gelegt hätten. Seine Aussage ist jedoch voller Widersprüche. So legten die Anwält_innen zum Beispiel dar, dass der „abwesende Hauptzeuge“ nur gängige Vornamen von Personen aus dem Lager benannt hatte, auf deren Grundlage die Polizei sechs Personen festnahm. Diesbezüglich erklärte die Verteidigerin Natasha Dailiani (Legal Center Lesvos): “Der einzige Zeuge, der die Angeklagten identifiziert hat, hat sich dem Gericht nicht gestellt. Seine schriftliche Zeugenaussage war voller Ungereimtheiten.”

Dennoch entschieden die drei Richter und vier Schöff_innen einstimmig, dass die Angeklagten der Brandstiftung mit Gefährdung von Menschenleben in Verbindung zur Zerstörung von Privateigentum schuldig seien. Die vier Beschuldigten saßen bis zum Prozess bereits neun Monate in Untersuchungshaft. Trotz der vorliegenden Dokumente, die die Minderjährigkeit von drei der Angeklagten belegten, wurden sie nicht als solche anerkannt. Der gestrige Antrag ihrer Anwält_nnen den Prozess vor dem Jugendgericht zu verhandeln wurde abgelehnt. Die beiden offiziell als Minderjährige anerkannte Angeklagten waren bereits im März 2021 vom Jugendgericht auf Lesbos zu fünf Jahren Haft verurteilt worden; schon damals hatten Beobachter_innen von einem unfairen Prozess gesprochen. Nach Ende des heutigen Verhandlungstages hält Annina Mullis, die den Prozess für die Demokratischen Jurist_innen Schweiz (DJS) und die European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) beobachtet hat, zusammenfassend fest: „Gestützt auf die vor dem Gerichtsgebäude gesammelten Eindrücke und auf die detaillierten Angaben der Anwältinnen teile ich deren Einschätzung, dass das Verfahren insgesamt den Vorgaben an ein faires Verfahren nicht standhalten kann.“

Verteidigerin Effie Doussi erklärt: “Wir werden alle Rechtsmittel ausschöpfen, damit die Beschuldigten einen fairen Prozess bekommen und ein klares Urteil, dass die Beschuldigten Menschen unschuldig sind.”

Oda Becker ist Aktivistin und Mitglied der Solidaritätskampagne, hat beide Prozesse verfolgt und steht im kontinuierlichen Kontakt zu den Betroffenen sowie ihrem sozialen Umfeld. Zum Prozess sagte sie: “Wir werden die zu Unrecht verurteilten Jungs und ihre Familien weiter solidarisch unterstützen! Der Fall der Moria 6 ist nicht das erste Mal, dass Migrant_innen in Griechenland willkürlich verhaftet und angeklagt wurden. Diese Praxis ist schon lange Teil des unmenschlichen EU-Grenzregimes. Im aktuellen politischen Umfeld hat die Kriminalisierung von Migration jedoch eine neue Stufe erreicht, ebenso wie die illegalen Pushbacks von Migrant_Innen durch die Behörden.”

Für alle, die für Gerechtigkeit und gegen Rassismus kämpfen, ist der heutige Tag eine schwere Niederlage. Die Verurteilung der vier Jugendlichen ist ein weiteres schockierendes Beispiel, wie Menschen auf der Flucht kriminalisiert werden, um von der Verantwortung derer abzulenken, die die Existenz eines Lagers wie „Moria“ überhaupt erst möglich machen.

Weitere Informationen und Kontakte:

Valeria Hänsel, Migrationsforscherin und Sprecherin von #FreeTheMoria6

E-Mail: freethemoria6@riseup.net

Twitter: #FreeTheMoria6

Blog: https://freethemoria6.noblogs.org/


Los 6 de Moria condenados a 10 años de prisión tras el incendio en el campo de Moria

Göttingen/Quíos/Lesbos, 13.06.2021

Ayer, sábado 12 de junio, cuatro adolescentes solicitantes de asilo fueron declarados culpables de “incendio con riesgo para la vida humana”, tras el incendio del campamento de Moria en Lesbos. El Tribunal de Quíos los condenó a diez años de prisión. A pesar de los documentos que prueban que tres de los acusados eran menores en el momento de la detención, fueron juzgados como adultos. Dos de los seis acusados ya habían sido condenados en marzo en el tribunal de menores de Lesbos.

Más de 70 organizaciones europeas y centenares de particulares habían reclamado un juicio justo y transparente. Tras dos días de juicio, y a pesar de la falta de pruebas claras de la implicación de los cuatro acusados en los múltiples incendios, fueron declarados culpables.

El veredicto de ayer no sorprendió a los observadores internacionales del juicio, que criticaron la falta de pruebas y lo calificaron como un procedimiento judicial injusto. Sólo se permitió la presencia de 15 personas en la sala. Se impidió al público, incluidos periodistas, una delegación de observadores internacionales y un representante del ACNUR, presenciar el juicio. Además, había por lo menos seis policías en la sala, un número desproporcionado que no era necesario para proteger el tribunal. Una gran multitud de personas mostró su apoyo a los acusados frente al edificio del tribunal.
Los seis acusados fueron presentados como culpables desde el momento de su detención. El Ministro de Migración y Asilo, Notis Mitarakis, ya había declarado en una entrevista con la CNN el 16 de septiembre de 2020 que “el campo fue incendiado por seis refugiados afganos que fueron detenidos”.

Ninguno de los quince testigos de la acusación que declararon ante el tribunal había visto a los acusados la noche del supuesto crimen. La abogada de la defensa, Natasha Dailiani (Legal Center Lesvos), declaró que “el único testigo que identificó a los acusados no se presentó ante el tribunal. Su testimonio escrito estaba lleno de incoherencias”. Los abogados afirmaron que el testigo sólo había dado a la policía seis nombres de pila, comunes entre la población del campo, lo que sirvió de base para su detención.

No obstante, los tres jueces y los cuatro miembros del jurado dictaminaron por unanimidad que los acusados eran culpables de “incendio con peligro para la vida humana”, y la circunstancia agravante de “destrucción de la propiedad privada”.
Los cuatro acusados llevaban ya nueve meses en prisión preventiva antes del juicio. La petición de sus abogados de que el caso fuera juzgado por el Tribunal de Menores fue rechazada. Los testigos de la defensa dijeron que recibieron acoso y presiones por parte del tribunal.

Los otros dos acusados, reconocidos oficialmente como menores, ya habían sido condenados a cinco años de prisión por el tribunal de menores de Lesbos en marzo de 2021, en lo que los observadores calificaron de juicio injusto.
Tras el final del juicio de hoy, Annina Mullis, observadora del juicio en representación de Abogados Democráticos Suiza (DJS) y Abogados Europeos por la Democracia y los Derechos Humanos (ELDH), resumió:

“Basándome en las impresiones recogidas fuera del edificio del tribunal y en la información detallada proporcionada por los abogados, estoy de acuerdo con su valoración de que el juicio en su conjunto no cumple las normas de un juicio justo”.
La abogada de la defensa, Effie Doussi, afirma que “agotaremos todos los recursos legales para garantizar que los acusados tengan un juicio justo y un veredicto claro que demuestre su inocencia”.

Oda Becker, activista y miembro de la campaña de solidaridad “Free the Moria 6”, quien ha seguido los dos juicios y está en contacto permanente con los afectados así como con sus familiares y amigos, dijo comentando el juicio: “¡Seguiremos apoyando en solidaridad a los chicos condenados injustamente y a sus familias! El caso de los 6 de Moria no es el primero en el que los migrantes son detenidos y acusados arbitrariamente en Grecia. Desde hace tiempo esta práctica forma parte del inhumano régimen fronterizo de la UE. Sin embargo, en el actual entorno político, la criminalización de la migración ha alcanzado un nuevo nivel, al igual que las detenciones ilegales de migrantes por parte de las autoridades”.

Más información y contacto:

Valeria Hänsel (portavoz de la campaña)

E-Mail: freethemoria6@riseup.net

Twitter: #FreeTheMoria6

Blog: https://freethemoria6.noblogs.org/


———————————————————————

[Greece] Sentenced to 50 years in prison – Freedom for Amir & Razuli

Originalartikel: https://www.borderline-europe.de/unsere-arbeit/solidarit%C3%A4tsstatement-freiheit-f%C3%BCr-amir-und-razuli

Sentenced to 50 years in prison – Freedom for Amir & Razuli

Deutsch | Ελληνικά | Français | فارسی

When Amir and Razuli tried to reach Greece on a rubber boat in March 2020, they were attacked by the Greek coast guard who tried to push them back to Turkey by force. The attack caused the boat to sink and the coast guard had to take them on board. Amir and Razuli were arbitrarily charged with “facilitating illegal entry” and “provoking a shipwreck”, in addition to their own entry. On the 8th of September 2020 they were sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Amir and Razuli, 25 and 23, fled from Afghanistan trying to reach Europe in search of a life in safety. With Europe’s ever-increasing closure of borders and the lack of safe and legal ways to enter Europe and claim asylum, they were forced to embark on the dangerous journey on a rubber boat across the Aegean Sea. Amongst the other people in the boat was also Amir’s young daughter and his heavily pregnant wife.*

They made their journey in March 2020, the month in which the Greek government announced the suspension of one of the most fundamental human rights – the right to apply for asylum -, and consequently charged people seeking protection with their own “illegal entry”, blatantly contradicting EU law and the Geneva Convention.

The Greek coast guard attacked the boat as soon as they had entered Greek waters and tried to push it back into Turkish waters using metal poles. In doing so, they punctured the boat, causing water to enter and putting the life of the people onboard at risk.


In the past months, numerous reports emerged bearing testimony to the Greek coast guard’s illegal and cruel practice of violent pushbacks, destroying the engine of refugee boats, disabling the boats, and then leaving the people to their fate in the middle of the sea. Read more about this in the New York Times, the Deutsche Welle and the Spiegel.


As the boat was about to sink, the coast guard eventually took them on board.

Following this deeply traumatizing experience, the coast guard proceeded with heavily beating up Amir and Razuli, arbitrarily accusing the two of being the smugglers. According to Amir’s wife who had to witness all of this together with her daughter, they only stopped when she held up their young child in front of her husband begging the men to stop.

As soon as they arrived at the Greek island of Lesbos, Amir and Razuli were separated from the rest of the group and brought to the police station. The coast guard accused them of their own entry, of facilitating the unauthorized entry of the other people on the boat and of having endangered the people’s lives.

They were since held in pre-trial detention and sentenced to 50 years in prison on 8th of September 2020. Although there is no evidence against them except for the statement of the coast guards, they were only acquitted of the accusation of “provoking a shipwreck”.

We are calling for the release of Amir and Razuli and all charges against them to be dropped!

Almost every day, people seeking protection are criminalized for their own flight and arbitrarily sentenced to lengthy prison terms and heavy fines (see e.g. the case of Hamza and Mohamed). Suspects, or what we would deem ‘victims’ of this unjust legislation, usually have limited access to legal assistance. Judgments are often pronounced despite lack of evidence and poor quality of translation. In Greece, the average trial lasts only around 30 minutes, leading to an average sentence of 44 years and fines over 370.000 Euro. According to official numbers by the Greek ministry of justice, almost 2.000 people are currently in Greek prisons for this reason. However, the fates of these people are seldom known. Arrested immediately upon arrival, most of them are locked away unnoticed, without their names known and no access to support from outside.

But we know the story of Amir and Razuli. We have organized legal defense for them, and we will fight for their acquittal in the appeal trial!

Help us to make their story known!

The European Union must stop the arbitrary incarceration of refugees and migrants!
——-
*Amir’s wife has meanwhile given birth to their second child. After the trial, Amir met his two-month-old baby for the first time and as he held his child for the first time in his arms, the police shouted at him to give the infant back to the mother, causing his family extreme distress.

SUPPORT US IN OUR FIGHT AGAINST CRIMINALISATION: https://www.betterplace.org/de/projects/79969-solidarisch-gegen-die-kriminalisierung-von-flucht-und-migration


26 October 2020

[Ägäis] Interview on theEU`s fight against “smuggling” – Wieso es nicht nur um Carola Rackete geht

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.

[Ägäis] The war against smuggling

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.”

European Union, 15.10.2018[1]

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.

Arresting “smugglers”

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

The Greek Coast Guards in the port of Mytilene, Lesvos. Photo: March 2018

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.

Table 1: Duration of Trials

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.

Charge Average Sentence
(41 cases)
Average time the sentence is to be served (41 cases)
(1) human smuggling (illegal transportation in order to earn money) 48 years 18 years
(1) human smuggling (illegal transportation in order to earn money)
(2) entry to Greece without permission
51 years 19 years
(1) human smuggling (illegal transportation in order to earn money)
(2) entry to Greece without permission
(3) disobedience
32 years 19.5 years
Table 3: Sentence and incarceration
Table 4: Sentence, Incarceration and Money Penalty

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.[4] The EU claims:

“While trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling are two different crimes subject to different legal frameworks they are closely interlinked.”

European Union, 15.10.2018[5]

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.


[1]European Union (2018): The EU’s global engagement to counter smuggling and trafficking networks, 15.10.2018.

[2] For a recent arrest, see e.g.: Ekathimerini.com, 11.07.2019: Three arrested for migrant smuggling in as many incidents.

[3] See also: CPT Europe, 01.12.2016: Seeing in the Greek Courtroom.

[4] For an in-depth analysis see: Bellezza, Sara; Calandrino, Tiziana, March 2017: Criminalization of Flight and Escape Aid. Borderline-europe.

[5]European Union (2018): The EU’s global engagement to counter smuggling and trafficking networks, 15.10.2018.

 

[Ahmed H.] Let Ahmed return home!

We are sharing a text by Amnesty International with the call to let Ahmed H. of the Röszke11 finally return home:

“Cyprus: Ahmed H. must be allowed to return home

Ahmed H. has been separated from his Cypriot wife and two daughters for almost four years. In September 2015, he was imprisoned in Hungary and wrongfully convicted for “complicity in an act of terrorism” in a blatant misapplication of Hungary’s counter-terrorism laws. Ahmed H. was conditionally released on 19 January 2019 and is being held in immigration detention in Hungary. As he is a Syrian national he is at risk being forcibly returned to Syria, a country that is not safe. Cyprus must allow his return home to be reunited with his family.”

Support th ePetition: https://www.amnesty.ie/urgent-action-reunite-ahmed-h-with-his-family/

Fight the border regime, solidarity with all Ahemd and all affected!

[PAZ Hernals 6] Angeklagte PAZ Hernals 6 in Wien verurteilt

Am 14. September 2018 brannte es im Abschiebegefängnis (PAZ) am Hernalser Gürtel in Wien. Eine Zelle war als Widerstand gegen Inhaftierung und bevorstehende Abschiebungen angezündet worden.

Am 23. März 2019 gegen 18 Uhr wurde am Wiener Landesgericht der Prozess gegen die sechs Angeklagten wegen des Brandes im Polizeianhaltezentrum Hernalser Gürtel fortgesetzt und schließlich ein Urteil gefällt.

Nach über sechs Monaten in Untersuchungshaft endet für drei der Verurteilten der Strafprozess mit Haftstrafen auf Bewährung. Allerdings wird von Seiten der Justiz bereits die Überstellung ins Abschiebegefängnis PAZ vorbereitet.

Die drei weiteren Angeklagten wurden zu mehrmonatigen Haftstrafen ohne Bewährung verurteilt. Das Urteil blieb allerdings weit hinter den Forderungen des Staatsanwalts zurück: Die Verurteilten wurden weder für Brandstiftung, noch für vorsätzliche, sondern für fahrlässige Sachbeschädigung, Gemeingefährdung und Körperverletzung schuldig gesprochen.