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by Thessaloniki Solidarity
Saturday, Jun. 28, 2003 at 12:55 PM
Protesters treated barbarically by authorities and judical system in the aftermath of the anti-EU demo
As a result of the anti-EU demonstrations in Thessaloniki, twenty-seven people were arrested. Subsequent contacts revealed that on arrival at the police station those arrested were beaten and subjected to verbal and mental abuse. What is most disturbing about the whole situation is the administration's refusal to deal with the arrested protesters fairly and present the evidence truthfully.
A group of international activists who remained in Greece to provide some prison solidarity attended the bail hearings of those arrested. We were informed that all of those arrested were being charged with the felony charge of possessing explosives and rioting. The general attitude of the Greek judicial system seems to be one of collective responsibility irrespective of evidence present or more specifically not present.
An American protester, from Vermont, on his way to the Greek Social Forum concert was abducted by a grab squad and incarcerated for two days. He was subsequently released on bail of 1,500 euro. Upon his release he was immediately rearrested and is now being held in a deportation centre notorious for abuse and violence. He is attempting to fight the charges but the prospects don't look good.
Meanwhile an English protester was arrested and molotovs were 'found' in his bag. He is facing a prison sentence of between five and twenty years in a Greek prison. Lawyers from the legal team subsequently acquired video footage from a Greek mainstream news station showing the police placing the molotovs in the protester's bag. At his bail hearing the judge refused to look at the evidence claiming that he had 'watched enough news already'. The activists who have remained here are at a loss as to what to do next and have attempted to provide some form of prison solidarity whilst attempting to remain unarrested.
These above mentioned cases are of great importance to me since both of those mentioned were in my affinity group and I KNOW that neither possessed explosives, or rioted.
It would be greatly appreciated if international activists could organise a solidarity demo possibly at their local Greek embassy as has been happening in the past week. The fact remains that if this is allowed to continue we may live to see a time when our best activists are incarcerated on false charges or have their right to freedom of movement removed.
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