Criminalisation of activists in Samos / Press Release Group of Samos

MOVEMENT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
SOLIDARITY TO REFUGEES

SAMOS 20/11/2012

Briefing report

In 2010 members of the Movement continued to visit the detention centre of Samos on a weekly basis. Following serious allegations we received by detained refugees and given their inability to address the competent authorities by themselves, we gathered all acquired information and wrote a letter to the Ministry of Citizen Protection requesting to be informed about the manner in which deportations are carried out.
The letter was communicated to other humanitarian organizations as well as the Police Headquarters of Vathi town in Samos. The authorities not only refused to answer our questions concerning the treatment of the detained refugees, but they also forwarded our letter to the prosecutor, asking him to press charges against the member of our movement who had sent the letter in question for alleged defamation and false statements.
Subsequently, the Prosecutor ordered a preliminary examination, in the context of which all Board members of the Movement were asked to testify about this jointly drafted document. Even though the allegations of the Hellenic Police against our Movement were proven unsubstantiated, the judicial authorities nonetheless pressed criminal charges against the specific member of our Movement who had sent the document and ordered her referral for trial on 6/12/2012 on grounds of “false reporting to the authorities”.

We ask ourselves a reasonable question: since when does a document addressed to the authorities, in particular a request for clarification which authorities are legally obliged to answer, constitute a “lie” ?

To further highlight this criminalization of demonstrated solidarity towards imprisoned refugees, we address one more question to the authorities: following dozens of judgments by the European Court of Human Rights condemning the illegal detention of refugees and the appalling conditions of detention of migrants and refugees inside police stations and concentration camps, should we now anticipate a similar degradation of the rights of citizens as well?

Our answer is as follows: demonstrating actual solidarity towards imprisoned refugees means defending the rights of all of us.

The pretextual criminalization of genuine solidarity towards persons deprived of their liberty on unsubstantiated charges, constitutes political persecution aiming to intimidate and silence those who stand up against arbitrariness and impunity.

STOP NOW THE PROSECUTION OF THOSE WHO ARE STANDING UP FOR OUR RIGHTS

CLOSE NOW THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS BEFORE THEY BECOME EXILE SITES OF OUR OWN EXTERMINATION

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... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

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