Tag Archives: Prozess

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

The Cyprian government denies Ahmed’s return to his family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Free the Röszke 11” solidarity group

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

[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.

 

[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.

[Bulgarien] Bulgaria is about to deport a political refugee to Turkey

The following text is written by Bordermonitoring Bulgaria:

Bulgaria is about to deport a political refugee to Turkey

On March 1^st 2019, the Bulgarian police has detained a Turkish citizen from the Kurdish minority Mr. Ilhan Karabag, who was living in Bulgaria for 3 years. He lived in Ovcha Kupel in a camp of the State Agency for Refugees (SAR). The reason given for his arrest is a request for deportation from the Turkish state on the account of participating in a political organization which is banned in Turkey. He is not persecuted for any other crimes aside from being a member of the said banned organization.

Since the moment he was arrested Mr. Karabag is detained at the main building of the National Investigative Service with the right to receive visitations only two times per month. Until now he has attended three sessions in the Sofia City Court (SCC). On the last two of them a representative of the Turkish diplomatic mission in Bulgaria was present in the court hall. The presence of this representative is seen as a brutal attempt to put pressure on the decision of the court. On April 9^th the court has decided to deport Mr. Karabag but the decision is appealed in front of a higher court – the Sofia Court of Appeal (SAC).

The date for the next session is still to be announced. The unfortunate decision of the court means that Mr. Karabag is facing a long-term prison sentence in Turkey for being politically active and without committing an actual crime. The Initiative for Migrant Solidarity issued a statement against the deportation of Mr. Karabag: „Taking the decision for the deportation of Mr. Karabag in Turkey, the Bulgarian state is easily sending a human life into the hands of the Turkish authoritarian jurisdiction and violates the international conventions for providing refuge to the politically persecuted people.“

<https://balkaninsight.com/2016/10/18/bulgaria-denies-controversial-deportation-of-gulen-supporters-to-turkey-10-18-2016/>

In the recent years there were other instances happening, that have ended quickly with the deportation of Turkish citizens from Bulgaria to Turkey.

<https://bulgaria.bordermonitoring.eu/2016/08/15/push-backs-bulgarian-turkish-cooperation-will-lead-to-more-violation-of-human-rights/>

Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) is sharing the concern of an unfair asylum procedure, which is furthermore based on the statistics of applications and granting of protection status at first instance in the last year:

<https://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/bulgaria/statistics>

Not a single person from Turkey who asked for asylum in the year of 2018, was accepted by the SAR.

On May 29th 2019 the Sofia Administrative Court will decide to accept or reject Mr. Karabag’s appeal for political asylum in Bulgaria. In the previous court session there was at least one presence of a Turkish diplomat. On May 28th 2019 the SAC will decide on his deportation. His eventual following deportation would result in his immediate incarceration, as Mr. Karabag has been sentenced in Turkey to 6 years and 3 months in jail.

[Lesbos] Freispruch für die angeklagten Betroffenen des Pogroms auf Lesbos von April 2018

Wir veröffentlichen einen Bericht von Genoss*innen von Lesbos:
110 der Betroffenen des faschistischen Pogroms, das am 22. April 2018 auf dem zentralen Platz in Mytilini stattgefunden hat sind am 9ten Mai 2019 in allen Punkten freigesprochen worden.
Ihnen wurde Widerstand gegen die Staatsgewalt und illegale Besetzung oeffentlicher Raeume vorgeworfen. Der Ausgang dieses Prozesses ist sehr erfreulich- wenn auch der einzig logische, denn wie so viele Faelle von Kriminalisierung von Migrant*Innen haette er gar nicht erst vor Gericht gehen duerfen. *
Waehrend der Verhandlung wurde durch Aussagen von ZeugInnen und Angeklagten klar, dass von Seiten des Staates versucht wurde das Recht der MigrantInnen auf friedliche Versammlung zu kriminalisieren. Dies geschah unter anderem durch die Trennung der Besetzung des Platzes von den faschistischen Angriffen in jener Nacht. Gerade einmal 17 der 200-300 FaschistInnen sind nach den Geschehnissen auf dem Sapfos Square festgenommen worden, der Prozess gegen sie steht noch aus. Es wurde ausserdem offensichtlich, dass es keine Beweislage dafuer gibt dass von Seiten der BesetzerInnen Verbrechen begangen worden sind, so ist dieser Freispruch eine wichtige Anerkennung des Gerichts des Rechts auf friedliche Versammlung, das dem behaupteten Verbrechen – illegale Besetzung eines oeffentlichen Platzes- uebersteht.
* Am 22. April 2018 zogen ca. 180 MigrantInnen auf den Sappho Square, den zentralen Platz in Mytilini, um gegen die anhaltenden schlechten Zustände in Moria, unzureichende medizinische Versorgung, Inhaftierung auf der Insel und die langen Wartezeiten im Asylprozess (momentan gibt es Menschen auf der Insel, die ihren Termin zur Asylanhörung im Jahre 2023 haben). Konkreter Auslöser der Mobilisierung war der Tod eines Asylsuchenden mit schweren gesundheitlichen Problemen. Vor Ort wurden die Protestierenden über Stunden von Dutzenden Faschisten angegriffen, mit Pyro beschossen und mit Steinen beworfen ohne dass die Polizei einschritt. Es gab Dutzende Verletzte.

[PAZHernals6] Angeklagte zu Haftstrafen verurteilt

Wir dokumentieren einen Artikel der “Freiheit für die PAZ Hernals 6”-Initiative aus Wien (https://freepazhernals6.noblogs.org/) vom 24. März 2019:

2. Prozesstag und Urteil: „Heim“ ins Abschiebegefängnis
Am zweiten Prozesstag wird die Vernehmung der sechs Geflüchteten fortgesetzt. Die Justiz-Akteur_innen befragen Herrn X. (Name geändert) weiter und anschließend die zwei letzten Angeklagten.

Die Beschuldigten werden immer wieder mit Aussagen der anderen konfrontiert, die ihren eigenen widersprechen, und die Richter_innen, Staatsanwaltschaft und Anwält_innen so darstellen, als würde jeweils „gegen sie ausgesagt“ werden. Die meisten von ihnen bemühen sich dennoch um eine mit ihren Mitangeklagten solidarische und achtsame Prozessführung. Auch an diesem Prozesstag versuchen die Angeklagten, ihre schwierige Situation verständlich zu machen und kämpfen dabei gegen rassistische Justiz-Mechanismen und Demütigungen durch die Justiz-Akteur_innen an.

„Es kommt mir nicht wie das Leben vor“

Herr Y. spricht über seine Depressionen, seine Schmerzen, sein seit einem Autounfall beeinträchtigtes Kurzzeitgedächtnis. Er sagt, er hat den anderen erzählt, dass sich in Deutschland jemand am Flughafen eine Verletzung zugefügt hat, um seine Abschiebung zu verhindern, er erzählt von seinen Gedanken, sich ebenfalls zu verletzen, um nicht abgeschoben zu werden. Ereignisse, die die psychische Not der Angeklagten ausdrücken, hält Staatsanwalt Bohé Herrn Y. als „Ordnungswidrigkeiten“ vor, wie er das Aussprechen von Suizidgedanken oder eine Ohnmacht, die Schließer_innen als „vorgetäuscht“ dokumentieren, nennt. Passiert sind diese teilweise erst nach dem Brand in Untersuchungshaft, sodass fraglich ist, inwiefern sie für den Prozess relevant sind, außer um Feststellungen zu treffen wie die von Richterin Skrdla über Herrn Z. (Name geändert), bei dem es ebenfalls um sein Verhalten in Untersuchungshaft geht: „Er hält sich einfach an keine Regeln.“

Er hält sich an keine Regeln

In Herrn Z.s Aussage kommt ebenfalls – wie schon in Aussagen der anderen – zur Sprache, wie traumatisiert die Angeklagten durch das Feuer sind: „Seit dem Feuer weiß ich nicht, was ich glauben soll, es kommt mir nicht wie das Leben vor, es war sehr gefährlich.“ Richterin Skrdla hält den Angeklagten mehrmals vor, was einer von ihnen ausgesagt hat: „Den Plan, ein kleines Feuer zu machen mit viel Rauch und so auf die Situation aufmerksam zu machen und die Abschiebung zu verhindern.“ Es ist ungewöhnlich, diese Sätze von einer Richter_innenbank aus zu hören, von der aus abgelehnte Asylbescheide oder drohende Abschiebungen stets dethematisiert und schnellstmöglich vom Tisch gewischt werden, wenn sie in anderen Prozessen zur Sprache kommen.
keine homogene Geschichte

Nach Abschluss der Befragung der sechs Angeklagten ist eines klar: Der einheitlich abgestimmte, logisch inszenierte Plan der Feuersbrunst, die Version der Geschichte, die der Staatsanwalt vertritt, existiert nicht. Die Geschichten bleiben unübersichtlich, widersprüchlich, überschneiden sich und widersprechen einander, erzählen von ausweglosen Situationen, Verzweiflung, Hoffnung und der geteilten Absicht, sich den drohenden Abschiebungen nicht einfach zu fügen, dafür Verletzungen in Kauf zu nehmen und das Risiko zu sterben einzugehen.
„… meilenweit von einem Vollbrand entfernt“

Der erste geladene Zeuge ist der Brandsachverständige. Er sagt, dass das Feuer „meilenweit von einem Vollbrand entfernt“ gewesen ist und sich in der Entstehungsphase befunden hat. Seine Aussage entzieht wohl dem Vorwurf der versuchten Brandstiftung die Grundlage. Der Vertreter der Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft BIG, die Eigentümerin des PAZ Hernals ist, war nur für die Sanierung der Zelle zuständig, kann aber nichts zum Zustand der Zelle erzählen. Und zwei der drei Schließer_innen haben eine Person aus der Zelle geholt, die bewusstlos am Boden gelegen ist, aber es waren nicht sie, die die fünf anderen Angeklagten aus dem Badezimmer gebracht und das Feuer gelöscht haben, sondern die Feuerwehr, die nicht zum Prozess geladen ist. Auch sprechen sie nicht von über 50 Personen, die evakuiert worden seien, sondern von 20 bis 30 Menschen. Nach den Zeug_innen-Befragungen rudert die Richterin bezüglich versuchter Brandstiftung zurück und schlägt den Anwält_innen vor, bevor sich diese mit den sechs Geflüchteten beraten: „Falls der Fall nicht unter versuchter Brandstiftung subsumierbar ist, kommen auch schwere Sachbeschädigung, vorsätzliche oder fahrlässige Gemeingefährdung sowie vorsätzliche oder fahrlässige Körperverletzung in Frage.“ Alle Angeklagten weisen die Vorwürfe zurück, vorsätzlich gehandelt zu haben.

Ein Urteil im Sinn eines schwarzblauen Abschiebesystems
Nach einer guten Stunde Beratungszeit wird das Urteil verkündet, aus dem jede Erwähnung von Protest gegen drohende Abschiebungen und der Inszenierung eines Brandes vollkommen getilgt ist.
Die Sechs werden schuldig gesprochen, gemeinsam Kästen vor die Tür geschoben zu haben, gemeinsam einen Abschiedsbrief geschrieben und jeweils ein Handtuch angezündet und aufs Bett gelegt zu haben. In der Urteilsbegründung des Senats werden die drohenden Abschiebungen und der Versuch, sie zu verhindern, wieder zentral angesprochen: Die Abschiebungen aller hätten sehr nahe gestanden, man hätte versucht, die Abschiebung zu verhindern, mit einem Feuer, gerade groß genug, um aufmerksam zu machen.Der Schuldspruch bezieht sich auf schwere Sachbeschädigung, fahrlässige Körperverletzung sowie fahrlässige Gemeingefährdung. Der zulässige Strafrahmen von bis zu zwei Jahren ist in den Urteilen unterschritten, das Urteil bleibt weit hinter den Forderungen der Staatsanwaltschaft zurück. Das härteste Urteil trifft Herrn Z. mit zwölf Monaten unbedingter Haft (plus Umwandlung einer Vorstrafe von 10 Wochen in unbedingte Haft), über zwei der Angeklagten werden bedingte Strafen verhängt, bei einem dritten ist der unbedingte Teil der Gefängnisstrafe drei Monate lang. Diese drei sind demnach viel länger im Untersuchungsgefängnis gesessen. UrteilsverkündungDas bedeutet, dass drei der Angeklagten am selben Abend entlassen werden: “Sie gehen heute heim”, sagt die Richterin.

Das Statement der Justiz: „Wir haben keinen Einfluss, wir wissen es auch nicht“

„Werden wir trotzdem abgeschoben?“, fragt einer der PAZ 6. „Das weiß ich nicht, das liegt an der Fremdenpolizei. Wir haben da keinen Einfluss, wir wissen es auch nicht“, antwortet Richterin Skrdla, etwa zur selben Zeit, als Journalist_innen schon darüber schreiben, dass eine nahtlose Überstellung ins Abschiebegefängnis bereits organisiert ist. „Nahtlos“ beschreibt auch das Ineinandergreifen von Justiz und Abschiebesystem. Das Urteil ist nicht das laute aufsehenerregende Urteil geworden, das Protest gegen Abschiebungen mit jahrelangen Gefängnisstrafen ahndet. Es ist ein Urteil, das die Angeklagten im Vergleich zu ähnlichen Fällen der letzten Jahre, in denen es um Feuer in Abschiebegefängnissen ging, mit recht niedrigen Gefängnisstrafen belegt. Es ist ein Urteil, das aussagt: “Es ist uns egal, was ihr macht. Ihr könnt euch verletzen, ihr könnt euch töten, niemals werdet ihr ein Recht auf Aufenthalt erzwingen, indem ihr Regeln verletzt.”

Die SechsEs ist ein zurückhaltendes und nicht weniger politisches und grausames Urteil, das sich aus der Verantwortung nimmt und zu einer effizienten Abschiebungsmaschinerie beiträgt, die sich die schwarzblaue Regierung wünscht – einer Abschiebungsmaschinerie, die allerdings niemals reibungslos sein wird, weil auch dieses Urteil nicht dazu führen wird, dass Menschen ein rassistisches Abschiebe-, Justiz- und Gefängnissystem hinnehmen werden.

[Lesbos] Freispruch für die Moria 8!

Moria 8 freigesprochen

Übersetzt von Cant evict solidarity

 

“Polizist*innen in Mytilene tun seltsame Dinge, die ich nicht verstehe.”  (Präsidentin des Obersten Gerichtshofs, Chios)

Nach 11 Monaten unrechtmäßiger Inhaftierung wurden die Moria 8 schließlich für unschuldig erklärt und freigelassen. Am 22. Februar 2019 wurden sie vor den Obersten Gerichtshof in Chios gebracht, wo die drei Richter und die vierköpfige Jury nur anderthalb Stunden brauchten, um sie von allen Anklagen freizusprechen.

Die acht Männer wurden am 19. März 2018 verhaftet und beschuldigt, bei Protesten im Lager Moria fünf Tage zuvor die Polizei und Brandstiftung angegriffen zu haben. Fünf von ihnen wurden elf Monate lang in Haft gehalten, zwei im Gefängnis Korydallos und drei im Gefängnis auf Chios. Es gab keine Ermittlungen und die Alibis, die das Fehlen von mindestens zwei der Angeklagten während der Proteste belegen, wurden weder bei der Voranhörung unmittelbar nach der Verhaftung noch bei den eingereichten Einwänden gegen die Verhaftung berücksichtigt. Keiner der 17 Polizist*innen, die während der Proteste im Lager im Einsatz waren, war zu einer Voranhörung eingeladen und gebeten worden, einen der Angeklagten zu identifizieren.

Die Anschuldigung gegen die acht Männer aus Syrien und dem Irak beruhte nur auf einer Aussage eines anderen Campbewohners. Drei Monate vor dem Prozess schickte der Mann ein Video an einen der Angeklagten, in dem er sich für falsche Anschuldigungen entschuldigteund behauptet: “Ich habe sie verraten, weil ich Probleme hatte, bedroht wurde und Mytilini verlassen musste.” Als er zuvor seine Aussage gegen die Angeklagten gemacht hatte, veranlasste die Polizei, dass er direkt zum Festland gehen kann.

Die Präsidentin des Obersten Gerichtshof hörte elf Zeugenaussagen der 17 Polizist*innen an, die allesamt aussagten,  keinen der Angeklagten erkennen zu können. Sie bat nicht einmal die drei Zeugen der Verteidigung um eine Aussage. Sie sagte: “Polizist*innen in Mytilene tun seltsame Dinge, die ich nicht verstehe. Sie brachten Menschen ins Gefängnis wegen einer Aussage, die dies nicht rechtfertigt. Ab und zu schicken sie ohne Grund Leute zum Obersten Gerichtshof. Es gibt keinen Fall. Die Polizeibehörden in Mytilene sollten sich besser koordinieren. Wenn etwas passiert, solltest du es untersuchen.”

Es war dieselbe Richterin, die ein Jahr zuvor 32 Männer aus der Gruppe der Moria 35 verurteilt hatte, obwohl es keine zuverlässigen Beweise gab.

Vici Angelidou, der Anwalt von vier der Angeklagten, sagte: “Die Richterin und die Jury hatten nicht einmal eine Sitzung, um ihre Entscheidung zu treffen, sie sahen sich an und schafften es in etwa zehn Sekunden direkt.

Die Richterin fand klare Worte für die Anklage gegen die Ungerechtigkeit auf Lesbos, wo Migrant*innen häufig von der Polizei ins Visier genommen werden und bis zu 18 Monate ohne Untersuchung festgehalten werden können. Dennoch hat die Praxis der willkürlichen Verhaftungen und Rechtsvorwürfe nicht aufgehört. Am 28. Februar, 9. Mai und 10. Oktober 2019 wird es weitere Gerichtsverfahren gegen Menschen auf der Flucht von den Lesbos-Inseln geben.

Wir fordern die Polizei und das Gericht von Mytilene auf, diese Übergriffe auf Geflüchtetenproteste und die Kriminalisierung von Personen, die internationalen Schutz in Griechenland suchen, zu stoppen!

Quelle: https://dm-aegean.bordermonitoring.eu/2019/02/23/moria-8-declared-innocent/

[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.

[Hernals6] Solidaritätserklärung mit den inhaftierten Hernals6 in Wien (Österreich)

We from the “You cant evict solidarity”-solidarity-campaign declare our solidarity with the imprisoned and accused Hernals6 in Vienna and demand their release!

From the lager Moria on Lesbos to the deportation prison Hernalser Gürtel in Vienna, people on the move are resisting the racist and inhuman EU-border-regime and its system of deportation and imprisonment. We stand in solidarity with the six people from Hernalser Gürtel that set their cell in fire in September 2018 to protest against their deportation. As the Austrian governments and medias repressive answer is accusation and imprisonment of the protesters in the prison in Vienna, we will not let ourselves be intimidated and call to support the accused in the upcoming trial and resist the inhuman EU-border-regime.

Our passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons!

More Infos on the case on https://freepazhernals6.noblogs.org.

[Röszke11] Kommt Ahmed H. bald frei?

Im Januar erreicht uns die Nachricht, dass Ahmed H., die letzte Person der Röszke 11 die noch in Haft in Budapest war, nach dreieinhalb Jahren Haft endlich freigelassen werden soll. Über die anstehende Freilassung hat Amnesty International Ungarn einen Artikel geschrieben (s.u.). Es zeigt sich, dass die ungarische Regierung über die Freilassung nicht sehr erfreut ist. Es gibt auch keine Fortschritte bei der Freilassung und Ahmed ist weiter in Haft. Sobald es mehr Informationen zu seiner aktuellen Situation gibt und er tatsächlich frei ist, werden wir hier darüber berichten. Free Ahmed H.!

Artikel von Amnesty International Ungarn (https://www.amnesty.eu/news/hungary-release-of-syrian-man-wrongly-convicted-of-terrorism-an-overwhelming-relief/?utm_source=ECRE+Newsletters&utm_campaign=58311b223a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_01_22_12_40&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ec9497afd-58311b223a-422315073):

Hungary: Release of Syrian man wrongly convicted of terrorism, an “overwhelming relief”

• Spokesperson available on the groundAhead of tomorrow’s early release of Ahmed H, a Syrian man who was unfairly jailed for “complicity in an act of terror” during clashes with police at the Serbia-Hungary border in September 2015, Eda Seyhan, Amnesty International’s Europe Counter Terrorism Campaigner, said:“After spending three-and-a-half years behind bars, Ahmed will finally be reunited with his wife and two young daughters. His release is an overwhelming relief for the family, but the fact is he should never have been prosecuted, let alone convicted, for this offence in the first place.

“The absurd charges against Ahmed were emblematic of the systematic scapegoating of refugees and migrants, and those seeking to defend them. His prosecution was a potent symbol of Prime Minister Orbán’s ‘illiberal democracy’. It had nothing to do with justice but was instead part of the Hungarian government’s draconian crackdown on human rights.

“By blatantly misusing terrorism-related provisions and riding roughshod over the law in their treatment of Ahmed, the Hungarian authorities showed they will stop at nothing to demonize refugees and migrants.”

Ahmed is expected to fly back to Cyprus to be reunited with his family soon after his release.

Photos and footage available are here (will be updated after his return to Cyprus) https://adam.amnesty.org/asset-bank/images/assetbox/02b445c9-8e7b-4be0-a31e-7411960c79d6/assetbox.html

For more information or to arrange an interview on the ground contact Aron Demeter demeter.aron@amnesty.hu or +36 709401043 or stefan.simanowitz@amnesty.org / +447936766445 or +44 2030365599
In August 2015, Ahmed left his family home in Cyprus to go and help his elderly parents and six other family members flee Syria and find safety in Europe. One month later, they found themselves among hundreds of refugees stranded at the Hungarian border after police fenced off the crossing with Serbia.

Clashes broke out as some refugees attempted to get through. Hungary’s police responded with tear gas and water cannon, injuring dozens. Some people threw stones, including Ahmed. But news footage also clearly shows Ahmed using a megaphone to call on both sides to remain calm before the clashes.

For this, a Hungarian court found him guilty of involvement in an “act of terror”, under Hungary’s extremely vague counter-terrorism laws, and sentenced him to 10 years in prison, later reduced to 7 years and then 5 with eligibility for early release.