Tag Archives: Harmanli

[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‘

[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.

[Harmanli21] Anhörung der Angeklagten erneut verschoben

Wir dokumentieren einen Artikel von bordermonitoring Bulgaria:

Court Hearing against the Harmanli 21 again postponed

On the 27th of September the postponed trial (from the 11th and 12th September) took place. Again only 10 Afghan migrants appeared in front of the court. The court did not do a hearing with them. A small group protested once more in front of the court in Solidarity with the accused migrants. The police intervened and stopped the protest by removing the banners and checking the ID cards of the protestors.

[Harmanli21] Repression und Rassismus gegen Protestierende beim Prozess gegen die Harmanli21

Wir dokumentieren einen Bericht von Genoss*innen des FreeTheHarmanli21-Kampagne aus Bulgarien (https://harmanli21.wordpress.com/):

On September 27, 2018,  took place the postponed on the 11th and 12th September consecutive session of the Regional Court in Harmanli against the accused in the destruction of public property and hooliganism of 10 out of 21 migrants from Afghanistan.

Once again the long-awaited hearing of the accused themselves has not happened. The reason is that witnesses are missing. The next court hearing is scheduled for October 24th and 25th at 9:30 am.

Shortly after the end of the session, two people waved banners with the slogans “Freedom for the 21 migrants from Harmanli” and “No one is illegal” and chanted “Freedom” and “Azadi” (“Freedom” in most languages of the Iranian group). Literally a minute after the start of the action, they were forced by the police to remove the banners, searched and checked their ID cards. The policemen said they had no right to protest infront of the court, saying: “Who told you that you can protest here?!”. One of the policemen said that as protecting them, they need to know what immense damage the migrants caused during the 2016 rebellion. One of the protesters said she had been an emigrant for most of her life and she knows very well what it is like to be in such a situation, to which the policeman replied (quote): “Yes, but there is a big difference between white and black migrants”… Asked for his name to be quoted for this frankly racist speech, he refused to give and legitimize. A little later, another police officer said that the name of the one with the racist speech is Lyuben Lyubenov, which is hardly true.

From all this, to us it follows that the attention of the authorities is already drawn and that it will be more and more difficult to protest without notice even outside the Harmanli court. We are also not surprised by the frankly racist attitude of a representative of the Bulgarian police towards people from the Middle East as a whole and Afghanistan in particular.

[Harmali21] Prozess gegen die Harmanli21 hat begonnen

Yesterday, the trial against the Harmanli 21 has started finally, after it was already postponed two times. Still only 10 people were present in front of the court and were brought in via the back door. The local District Court of Harmanli announced that during the trial more than 60 witnesses will be questioned. The fact that no investigation was done by the authorities concerning the police violence against the asylum seekers in the camp of Harmanli was criticized by Bulgarian Human Rights Organizations. In front of the court a group of people protested in solidarity of the accused migrants. The next court hearing will take place on the 11th of September 2018.

Source: http://bulgaria.bordermonitoring.eu/2018/08/07/the-trial-against-the-harmanli-21-has-started/

[Harmanli21] Prozess gegen die Harmanli21 erneut verschoben

Wir dokumentieren einen Bericht vom 2. Prozesstag gegen die angeklagten Harmanli 21 vom 5. Juni 2018 von unseren Genoss*innen von bordermonitoring Bulgaria.

Banner in the court: „Freedom for the 21 migrants from Harmanli“

On the 5th of June 2018 the trial against the Harmanli 21 was postponed again. As last time, 10 of the 21 accused migrants were present. The hearing started with people in attendance to support the migrants. They took out a sign saying “Azadi” (the word for “freedom” in several languages. They also showed a banner in support of all the persecuted, saying “Freedom for the 21 migrants from Harmanli” in Bulgarian. Afterwards they were expelled from the court room. One of the migrants was rudely silenced by the judge for thanking the protestors.

The supporters claimed that they are not a part of an organization and just people, who came in solidarity. Some media did not quote their banner correctly afterwards and some media reports following the events on the very same day noted that among the supporters were foreigners and not everyone spoke Bulgarian language. A journalist challenged the protesters with a question about police being injured during the riot. One of them answered, by stressing the fact that a 15 year-old boy was in a coma after police violence following the riot and no police has been investigated or accused until today.

The hearing continued with only two out of the 10 present migrants disagreeing with starting the trial right away. The statements of all the lawyers were pleading against a start – they argued that one month has not passed since the start of the search for the 11 missing migrants. The trial was postponed until August 7th, 2018 at 13.30 h in the Regional court in Harmanli.

[Harmanli21] “Im Schlaf verprügelt”

Wir dokumentieren einen Artikel von Matthias Fiedler von bordermonitoring.eu, zuerst erschienen in jungle world 2018/21 (am 24.05.2018). Zu finden auch unter: https://jungle.world/artikel/2018/21/im-schlaf-verpruegelt

In Bulgarien beginnt Anfang Juni ein Prozess gegen Asylsuchende, denen vorgeworfen wird, 2016 im Flüchtlingslager Harmanli ­randaliert zu haben. Damals gab es zunächst friedliche Proteste gegen die katastrophalen Unterbringungsbedingungen.

Die bulgarische Stadt Harmanli am Fluss Mariza, der in Griechenland Evros genannt wird, liegt an einer wichtigen Transitroute nach Istanbul und hat etwas mehr als 20 000 Einwohner. Sie ist nur einige Dutzend Kilometer vom Dreiländereck zwischen Bulgarien, Griechenland und der Türkei entfernt. Seit 2013 gibt es auf einem ehemaligen Militärgelände am Stadtrand ein Lager für Flüchtlinge, das derzeit etwa 2 710 Plätze hat. In den ersten Monaten nach Eröffnung des Lagers mussten Flüchtlinge notdürftig in Zelten unterkommen und sich am offenen Feuer wärmen. Schrittweise wurden die fensterlosen Gebäude renoviert und zusätzlich Container auf das Gelände gestellt.

Geschehnisse im Lager, die sich im Jahr 2016 ereigneten, beschäftigen zurzeit die bulgarische Justiz. Anfang September 2016 forderten Anwohnerinnen und Anwohner, das damals völlig überfüllte Lager zu schließen. Unterstützt wurden sie von der rechtsextremen Partei Bulgarische Nationale Bewegung (IMRO) und anderen rechtsextremen Organisationen. In der Stadt kursierten Gerüchte, die Flüchtlinge hätten Seuchen und bedrohten die Einwohner. Die Proteste wurden größer und der Druck auf die lokale Verwaltung stieg.

Schließlich verhängte sie im November 2016 eine permanente Ausgangssperre über das Lager, die vom Gesundheitsministerium in Sofia mit einer Quarantänemaßnahme gerechtfertigt wurde. Später stellte sich jedoch heraus, dass eine derartige Maßnahme gar nicht nötig gewesen wäre. Die Asyl­suchenden protestierten gegen die Abriegelung des Lagers, ihre vollständige Isolierung von der Außenwelt und die Zustände im Lager. Nach zwei Tagen Ausgangssperre griffen manche Protestierende zu Gewalt. Einige Asylsuchende hatten sich mit Steinen bewaffnet und warfen sie auf die Polizei, die das Lager großräumig abriegelte. Die Beamten antworteten mit Knüppeln und dem Einsatz von Wasserwerfern. Der Einsatz erstreckte sich bis in die darauffolgende Nacht. Freiwillige Helferinnen und Helfer erhielten Anrufe von Flüchtlingen, die sagten, sie hätten geschlafen und seien unvermittelt von der Polizei angegriffen worden, obwohl sie gar nicht am Aufstand beteiligt gewesen seien. Zahlreiche Fotos wurden noch in derselben Nacht in sozialen Netzwerken veröffentlicht, die Flüchtlinge mit blutenden Kopfwunden und Verletzungen am Körper zeigten. Rechtsextreme bedrohten diejenigen, die die Bilder veröffentlicht hatten.

Die Behörden gaben später an, dass 300 Asylsuchende während der Krawalle verhaftet worden seien. Am 28. November 2016 ließen sie verlauten, dass sich 50 afghanische Flüchtlinge bereit erklärt hätten, in das Land zurückzukehren. Um das Lager in Harmanli wurde ein über zwei Meter hoher Metallzaun mit Stacheldraht gebaut. Knapp 300 Polizisten, die am Einsatz beteiligt gewesen waren, erhielten Geldprämien, die Vorwürfe gegen die Polizei wurden nicht überprüft.

Im März 2018 äußerte sich eine Sprecherin des UNHCR Bulgarien zu den Lebensbedingungen in den offenen Unterkünften für Asylsuchende: Die hygienischen Zustände seien weiterhin mangelhaft und der Schutz von Asylsuchenden sei nicht ausreichend gewährleistet. Seit den Ausschreitungen von Harmanli nimmt die Staatliche Agentur für Flüchtlinge (SAR) in Bulgarien Menschen in Haft, deren Asyl­verfahren noch nicht entschieden sind.

Am 5. Juni soll der Prozess gegen 21 Personen beginnen, die angeklagt sind, an den Ausschreitungen im Jahr 2016 beteiligt gewesen zu sein. Sie werden des Rowdytums und der Zerstörung von Eigentum beschuldigt. Die Behörden beziffern den Sachschaden auf 85 000 Lewa (43 000 Euro). Eigentlich sollte der Prozess bereits im April stattfinden, doch nur zehn der Beschuldigten erschienen damals vor Gericht, woraufhin der Prozess nach 30 Minuten abgebrochen und vertagt wurde. Die zehn Angeklagten waren von der Migrationsbehörde aus der Haftanstalt für Migranten in Ljubimez abgeholt und zum Gerichtsgebäude gefahren worden; den anwesenden Medien erklärten einige von ihnen, dass sie unschuldig seien. Das Gericht erhofft sich nun bis 5. Juni Klarheit über den Verbleib der restlichen Ange­klagten.

Der Fall erinnert an das Gerichts­verfahren gegen 35 Migranten, die auf der griechischen Insel Lesbos festgenommen worden waren. Auch dort hatte es nach einem zunächst friedlichen Protest vor dem Europäischen Unterstützungsbüro für Asylfragen (EASO) am 17. und 18. Juli 2017 einen Aufstand im völlig überfüllten Lager Moria gegeben. Die rabiat durchgeführten Festnahmen fanden eine Stunde nach dem Abflauen der Unruhen statt. 32 Asylsuchende wurden im April zu zweijährigen Gefängnisstrafen verurteilt. Viele von ihnen beteuerten vor Gericht ihre Unschuld und gaben an, willkürlich von der Polizei festgenommen und verprügelt worden zu sein.

[Harmanli21] Aufruf zu einer internationalen Woche der Solidaritätsaktionen mit den angeklagten Harmanli21

Wir dokumentieren eine Aufruf von Genoss*innen aus Sofia:


On 24th of April, 2018 was the first hearing against 21 arrested
migrants accused of participation in a violent riot in the so-called
“open camp” of Harmanli, in 2016. The riot broke out when the camp was
put under unlawful quarantine after pressure from the far right’s
anti-immigrant propaganda. 21 Afghani people were sent to court
despite clear evidence of police brutality and of random mass beatings
after the riot. No police was investigated.

The next hearing will be on the 5th of June, 2018 at the Regional
court in Harmanli.

·We are planning a week of local actions in solidarity with the
Harmanli 21 until the new date of the trial.

·We call for solidarity actions in front of each Bulgarian embassy or
consulate, demanding the immediate еnding of the trial, release of the
21 migrants and investigation of the police brutality against the
people in the camp.

The 21 migrants continue to be held in the detention centre of
Lyubimets, facing the threat of deportation back to Afghanistan or of
prison sentence in Bulgaria. The whole trial is totally absent in most
of the media and society in general. We believe that only pressure
from inside and outside can help put this trial out in the public eye,
especially in these last 2 months of Bulgarian presidency of the EU

·The week of actions is from Monday, 28th of May to Tuesday, 5th of
June, 2018.

Apart from that you can help by starting campaigns in your countries
and cities in order to inform your local society about the Harmanly 21

Only united we can resist the brutality of the Bulgarian state and of
“Fortress Europe”!


Antifa Sofia and comrades

More information:

1) After the Rebellion of the Voiceless, the Trial comes – FREDOM FOR
After the Rebellion of the Voiceless, the Trial comes – FREDOM FOR THE HARMANLI 21

2) Report of the the first day from the trial against the Harmanli 21

http://bulgaria.bordermonitoring.eu/2018/04/26/the-start-of-the-trial-against-the-harmanli-21/ Show
original message

[Harmanli21] Der Start des Prozesses gegen die Harmanli21 in Bulgarien

Wir dokumentieren einen Bericht von Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (http://bulgaria.bordermonitoring.eu/2018/04/26/the-start-of-the-trial-against-the-harmanli-21/):

The start of the trial against the Harmanli 21

On the 24th of April 2018, at 13:30, the first hearing of the trial about the riot in the camp took place at the Regional court in Harmanli. At already 13:00, journalists had gathered in front of the court house. Some of them were calling the accused people “21 pieces“, not people but “pieces“. This is showing the level of professionalism and objectivity the topic of migrants is being handled with by some of the media in Bulgaria. As a van arrived, packed with the accused migrants, which were accompanid by officers from the Migration Directorate, some journalists ran to take pictures and videos of the accused migrants.

As one could see many of the accused people felt very unconfortable with this situation and tried to avoid being filmed or photographed. 10 of the accused migrants were present at court. They are currently waiting in the pre-trial detention in the closed camp in Lyubimets. Another 11 accused were missing. Most of the migrants were represented by public defenders and there was no representative from the State Agency of Refugees (SAR).

The trial did not start yet, and the hearing was no longer than 30 minutes. The argument was searching for and sending letters to the 11 missing people, who did not appear. The authorities in Bulgaria are accusing the migrants in the refugee detention center of a damaging different things in the value of about 85,000 Leva (42,000 Euro). The accusations are hooliganism and property destruction.

Most of the accused migrants claimed that they are innocent and were gathered randomly from the camp in Harmanli by the police. As reported before, when the police and gendarmerie entered the rooms at the night night after the alleged riot and brutally beat up migrants in the camp manypeople were sleeping. The media „professionals“ fail to notice and report on this small detail.

The next hearing will be on the 5th of June, 2018 at the Regional court in Harmanli at 13:30.

[Bulgarien] Prozessbeginn gegen Harmanli21 am 24. April

The Harmanli local district court had scheduled the court hearing against 21 Afghans, who are accused of taking part in the riot in November 2016 to start on 24th of April 2018 in Harmanli, Bulgaria.

After the riot, that broke out following a protest against quarantine measures, inhabitants of the camp Harmanli (Bulgaria) accused the gendarmerie of using brutal violence. They publicly stated that the gendarmerie stormed houses while some people were sleeping, who had nothing to do with the riot. Pictures with many injuries were shared by the asylum seekers.

The court hearing will take place on the 24th of April 2018 in Rayonen Sad – Harmanli (РАЙОНЕН СЪД) at Yanko Sakazov Street 1, 6450 Tsentar, Harmanli, starting at 1.30 pm.

Show your Solidarity!

Source: http://bulgaria.bordermonitoring.eu/2018/03/31/court-hearing-scheduled-for-the-harmanli-21/