No One Alone Before the State: Help Comrade S.

My name is S., I have been living as a migrant in Greece for 5 years now. I am Kurdish and I came from a country where there is no democracy, freedom or human rights, I mean Iran. I didn't leave my country because of economic problems. The reason why I came was because I wanted the rights of the Kurdish people, and if you are involved in politics in Iran and you are asking for justice, you will be imprisoned forever or executed. That's why I had to leave my family, my friends and the city where I grew up. When I moved to Greece I struggled a lot and it wasn't easy. I was hiding in a house in Turkey for 8 months because I didn't have documents, and if I was arrested, I would be extradited to Iran. After being pushed-back 12 times, I finally arrived in Greece. When I was pushed back to Turkey by the Greek police, I was beaten and they took my phone and didn't return it. When I arrived here in Athens, I didn't know the language and it was a very difficult time for me.  

Shortly after my arrival in Athens, I was at a demonstration and I got arrested. Because I didn't know the language, I signed a paper to admit the charges that had been raised against me, with no way of knowing that 95% of them were lies. In the court, when the judge saw that I had signed the papers, he sent me to the prison until I would have my court, first to Korydallos, and then I was waiting there for 12 months for my court to happen. They postponed my court two times because they did not provide translators. In the end, the trial happened in english in order to not to be postponed again. The judges told me that they will not count the year that I had already spent in jail, and that I am innocent. But I was not free because inside the jail, my papers expired and I had no opportunity to renew them. They took me directly to Amigdaleza detention prison, where I had to wait for another 17 months until I received my documents. 

These places, both criminal and detention prison, cause mental illness in people to the extent that I was ashamed of being human. I had no rights and no one would listen to me and it was all in the hands of the police. We were treated like animals, 5 of us in a small room and the door of the room was closed. The toilet and the bathroom were outside, and to go to the toilets, we had to get permission, and sometimes all the police were bored and wouldn't open the door and you had to use a bottle. We were allowed to spend 1 hour per day in the yard because there weren't enough cops to accompany us, which is why people suffer from depression and anxiety. Such a place can be tolerated for 10 days at most. Not like me 150 days. Nobody there knew what would happen to them, I didn't know where to ask for help and I didn't know how long I'd be there. Most prisoners took sleeping pills at night because they couldn't sleep because of anxiety and because of the bed bugs, and I also started using sleeping pills. And I was sleeping more than 12 hours a day.

In Allodapon, some people committed suicide because of stress and depression, and one was executing himself and luckily I saved him. When the police arrived, instead of taking him to the doctor, they put a helmet on his head and beat him to the point of unconsciousness. He was then taken to isolation. I still don't understand why these things happen to us. I came here hoping to start a new life but I was imprisoned for two and a half years in a country known to the world as a democratic state!!! 

However, I won't stop trying and I won't lose hope.

One day in prison, while I was just about 10 days inside, a knife attack happened while I was being brought to the doctor, and I tried to protect the person that had been attacked. They made another court for this and I was waiting for it to happen also. Afterwards, when I was in the hands of the cops in Allodapon, I asked many cops for the date of my trial, and all of them told me that the authorities would know that I am here and they will take me if it is needed. Since there is no connection to the outside world, I was completely reliant on the decision of the police and guards for any information that concerned me and my future. Nobody ever called me to this court. 

I am free from both detention and criminal prison for only 1,5 years now. Some months ago I discovered that the court for the knife attack, to which everyone who was present that time was called, had already happened some months ago. Nobody informed me about this court. Everyone was proven innocent except the person who attacked- and me, because I did not appear to the court. The charge is 2,5 years of jail. I had declared my address to several offices, because I started working afterwards and made a house contract, but I had not declared it to the police because I thought that the offices communicate with each other. I was trying to deal with trauma, extreme stress and poverty after my release from jail, and I simply did not know that, by law, I am obliged to declare my address to the authorities, because im not a local person and I had no knowledge about the greek laws. The police and legal administrators did not inform me about the court, and it had happened without me. Later, they said it was my fault, because I should have declared my address to them, even though my address was known both at the tax office, the municipality and other institutions. 

I want to leave this country since long time and am still waiting for my travel documents. I can now speak greek fluently and I am contributing to the greek economical system. I am a recognized refugee in greece, and am supposed to have the same rights as a greek or european citizen, but in reality, I am exposed to the constant war on migrants by the government and society, bureaucratically, financially, symbolically and culturally. The spaces in which I am moving are spaces of racism and I am exposed to a constant fear of arbitrary state repression. The fact that I did not declare my address is a result of the purposeful denial of access to information capital. I had to start building a stable life after being unfairly imprisoned for 3 years in jail, an imprisonment which caused deep mental damage and trauma that made me not think about the duty to declare my address. 

On Sunday 12th of March, the police checked my documents during one of their racist police operations against migrants in public spaces. They saw my criminal record, and that I had been convicted for another 2,5 years of jail. I was taken to the police station where I am imprisoned to this day. The suspension court has refused to allow me to be released until the day when my appeal court will happen, for the fact that I did not declare my address to the police one year ago. Courts in greece are very likely to be postponed for years. Defendants who don't have a lawyer or can't buy their way out have to spend these years in prison. Being unfairly accused on being involved in violence inside the jail is not unlikely, because prisons are violent spaces which are in and of itself made to recreate more violence. Any form of resistance is punished by the prison guards, the police and the state, who, as corrupt guardians over law and order, monopolize extreme power and defend a system that wants to keep migrants and stigmatized groups in prison at all costs.  

For example, over 20,8 % of the prisoners in greece are accused of human trafficking. This is almost equal to the number of people imprisoned for drug trafficking. For human trafficking, the indictment provides for a prison sentence of 100 years. The current law (Law 4251/2014) states that the sentences imposed in the first instance are immediately enforceable and an appeal has no suspensive effect. People charged with smuggling must therefore spend the time until their appeal date in prison. Laws concerning human and drug trafficking directly aim at criminalizing members of migrant or black communities.

I am proven innocent for all my criminal records, I have a partner here in Greece, a house and working contract, but the authorities wanted to keep me in prison for not having declared my address. They refer to the legal basis of being obliged to declare an address, while at the same time they convict migrant and non-greek speaking people for many years of prison without even providing a translator, which is against the law.  

In a second suspension court, I was released from detention until my appeal court will happen, but I have to pay an amount of money every month to ensure this corrupt government that they can trust me to come to trial. What have they done to convince me that I can trust them to have access to a fair trial? The price for freedom is high. My appeal court will happen in some months, and I will have to cover the lawyer costs and the costs for any decision that will be made after and still is unknown. Furthermore, I have to cover expenses for health treatments, because the time in jail caused me several health problems.  

I am thankful for any financial support.

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