The 14 and 17 January sees the start of 3 major political trials in Greece, in one instance dating back to events over 7 years ago. In the face of widespread radical opposition and street protests, the right-wing Greek state appears determined to try and lock up as many radicals as it can, while it still can.
Trial 1 starts 14 January and concerns 4 comrades from across Europe known as the Thessaloniki 4. They are Souleiman “Kastro” Dakduk, Fernando Perez Gorraiz, Michalis Traikapis, and Simon Chapman from London. These 4 are part of the original Thessaloniki 7, arrested at anti-EU protests in June 2003 in Greece’s second largest city. Charges were dropped in 2004 after the 7 spent months in prison and undertook a long hungerstrike which gained international support, but reinstated by the state in 2005. A first trial was held in 2008 at which sentences of 5 to 8.5 years were handed down. Whilst the case against 3 defendants has been resolved, the 4 remaining are now appealing against their convictions and sentences.
Whilst all 4 were brutalised by cops and screws, and the evidence against them remains dubious, Simon Chapman’s case is best known – as video and photo evidence exists of cops planting evidence on him after they beat him up on the demo. See background info at Saloniki Solidarity.
If you are in London, there is a solidarity picket of the Greek embassy at 2pm on Friday 14 January – details and map.
There will be a ‘solidarity across borders’ benefit gig in Bristol on 5 February to support the Thessaloniki 4 and the Bristol bust fund.
Trial 2 also starts 14 January at the court of Piraeus (near Athens). 23 prisoners stand trial for ‘disobedience, sedition and inciting attitude’, facing additional penalties of at least 10-year imprisonment. These prisoners from Koridallos prison were among many who in April 2007 took action in at least 6 Greek prisons in protest at the beating of anarchist prisoner Yannis Dimitrakis in Malandrino prison. Prison protests lasted several days, and were eventually repressed by riot cops in Malandrino and Koridallos. Now nearly 4 years later these 23 prisoners continue to be targetted by the vicious prison system in Koridallos. A solidarity gathering will happen outside the courts from 9am on the 14th. For more info see Act for Freedom.
The 3rd trial is due to start on 17 January at the Koridallos prison itself. This one concerns three acknowledged members of the Conspiracy Cells of Fire group who have waged a militant 3 year campaign against capital and the state in Greece recently. Their charges are serious and the likely sentences long. The group have issued a series of communiques and continue to be active. More info about them can be found again at Act for Freedom. A solidarity gathering will happen at 9am on 17 January outside the prison.
There are a host of other court cases coming up in Greece, which reflects both the level of struggle there and unfortunately the number of arrests.The present best english language sources for news on the struggles in Greece, from strikes and occupations to sabotage and riots, are probably From the Greek Streets, Contra Info, Act for Freedom, and Clandestine English. They also link to other useful info resources.
Map, list & contact details of Greek embassies/consulates in the UK. Let the Greek authorities know their prisoners are not forgotten.