Tuesday April 24th, 2018
In between a police ring, and with last night’s events in Mytilene still in our heads, the second day of the trial of the 35 persecuted migrants from Moria began.
After the technical difficulties that the acoustic of the first day was faced with, today a microphone system was installed. However, thanks to the tremendous inspiration of whoever installed it, half of the trial was conducted with an echo effect, preventing the audience, as well as the defendants and the judges from hearing anything.
The court was adjourned with the examination of the witnesses for the prosecution. Out of the 10 witnesses that had been called in total, only seven showed up, six policemen and a fireman,
Three of the policemen (Stefopoulos Apostolos, Chasapis Vasilios, Kousvis Efstathios) were the heads of the riot police squads that operated on the day of the riot in the Moria detention centre. Within a jumble of contradictions and timeline deviations, they tried to claim, even through their preliminary examinations, that the 35 persecuted migrants were part of a frantic crowd that, without any reason, kept attacking the police for six hours, and tried to set fires left and right. The police, on the other hand, according to the testimonies of these witnesses, in a completely calm and well-planned operation, evacuated the camp from all the rest (although none of them could recall whether there were two, three or five thousand people who were staying in the camp at the time) trapped around 200 people in one area of the camp, where two out of the three squads (each numbering 12 people) restrained 32 of the 35 defendants while they were still throwing stones to the police. Surely, today they could not identify any one of the defendants, but (swearing with their hand on the gospel all the while) in the summer they were absolutely certain. What was also impressive was the ability of witness for prosecution Kousvis Efstathios to testify as an eye-witness for events that took place in the Moria detention centre before his squad had even arrived in the area, as his co-workers testified.
This one had in fact been identified by various defendants as the squad members who was especially violent during the arrests, seriously injuring many of them. A moment of mirth was also offered to the audience by the difficulty that the witnesses faced in distinguishing between African and Latin American migrants (among the rest of the defendants there is one from Haiti and one from the Dominican Republic), as for them all black migrants are Africans.
Next came the testimony of the head of the unit of external guarding and registration, Amoutzias Dimitrios, who, while testifying that he was in close proximity to the events since the start of the protests, could not identify any one of the defendants, apart from 3 defendants whom he insisted he recalled throwing stones along with the rest of the crowd, while these same three defendants had been arrested by firemen in a different area, far away from the rest.
The head of the camp’s security forces for the day, Brilakis Dimitrios, arrived to the courthouse to testify for the damage to his car which was parked inside the detention centre. No one was able to understand how the head of security did not involve himself with the events that took place, but instead took his car and drove away, being upset with the damage that had occurred to it. When asked about the events that took place on the day, he seemed quite confused, and had serious trouble remembering the times at which the events occurred.
Last on the police witnesses’ side was Stroggilou Athena, who was called to testify regarding the report she composed regarding the registered damage to various vehicles. However, there was an objection borne by the defense attorney concerning her testimony, the reason being that she had been a clerk at the preliminary investigation for the case, and so her testimony as a witness was not allowed.
Without any doubt, the highlight of the day was the testimony of the fire department’s deputy chief, Tsouvalas Chrysoulis. Although while listening to the first prosecution witness, who did not manage to support the case for arson, he whispered that “he would take up next, and he would fuck these sons of bitches up”, when he found himself in the witness spot, he seemed rather confused. He assuredly claimed that he would be able to remember with all certainty, even if 50 years had passed, the three people who he saw from a distance of 50 metres ducking next to some bushes, on a wet ground, and being under the impression that they were trying to set a fire he issued an order for their pursuit. Of course, when he was called to identify them in the court, and although the court seat had kindly enough asked the 3 defendants that he had identified in the preliminary hearings to stand up, he misidentified 2 out of 3 of them. He didn’t manage to explain how they managed to set fire when no lighter or flammable substance had been found on their person, nor how the three specific defendants could have been arrested according to his warrant at 15:30, and himself seeing them at 17:00 doing what he accused them of doing. He also explained to the court, while often consulting the stars, that the employees and the cars of the fire department and the police are so fast that they could have identified someone at 17:00, chased him for more than 300 metres on bumpy and sloppy ground, arrested him while he was putting up resistance, transferred him to Mytilene’s police department which is located 11km away, and have created and checked the report of search and confiscation at 17:18. According to his testimony, 10 minutes would be enough for all this, as the police cars ‘fly’ when they have their sirens on.
Another positive thing of the day was that the court seat agreed to the viewing of the various videos that exist of the arrests of the day, videos that actually prove the lies of the prosecution, as well as the excessive police brutality.
It is necessary, still, to note that the trial that is in process concerns 35 migrants who were kept invisible during their entrapment in the Moria detention centre, and are still being kept invisible in the courthouse. Putting up the front of speeding up the processes, the defendants watched the prosecution witnesses without any substantial interpretation.
With the completion of the witnesses for the prosecution testimonies, the second day of trial was completed and was called off until Thursday, April 26th. On Thursday, the trial will continue with the reading of some defence documents and the hearing of the witnesses of defense.
Solidarity with the persecuted migratns from Moria and Petrou Ralli
Solidarity Assembly with the 35 Persecuted Migrants
New Solidarity Call at Courthouse of Chios
Thursday April 26 at 09.00 a.m.