clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘ministry of public order (citizen protection)’

Latest news, Monday 15 – Friday 19 Feb.

Posted by clandestina on 19 February 2010

Monday Feb 15 Tention in the police station of Tripoli, Peloponese after the suicide attempt of a 35 yearold Palestinian who was imprisoned in purpose to be deported. Other migrants prisoners, also under deportation, looted blankets so a small fire was caused. The pigs entered the detention centers and evacuated the imprisoning cells by transfering the prisoners to a room beside. Later, the migrants were also transfered to the Panarcadic Hospital for health checks, where also the Palestinian was transfered whose deportation is planned to take place in two weeks. http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1133089

Tuesday Feb 16 In Archontiki village, Rethymnon, Crete, an Indian farm worker was shot and heavily injured by his boss – a shepherd himself.   The culprit then took the victim on his car which crushed on the road.  He left the victim there in a horrid condition and disappeared.  http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1132976

A shoot-out between cops and bank robbers in the neighbourhood of Vironas, Athens saw an innocent passer-by assassinated by the cops: 25-year old migrant worker Nikollas Todi was unfortunate to be at the shooting range of the pigs in uniform. He was executed in cold blood, shot with nine bullets in the back, one going through his head and another one through his heart.  Leuteris Oikonomou, head of the greek police, stated that “nothing went wrong in the operation – simply the 25-year old found himself amidst crossfire”. Trying to supposedly disassociate himself from this provocative statement, Michalis Chrisochoidis (minister of citizen protection) stated that “a crucial battle was won, even if the cost was dear”. Earlier today, Chrisochoidis announced that Athens will see “unprecedented” policing operations after easter. http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1133637

Thursday, Feb 18 50 Palestinian refugees detained at the Samos refugee center were boarded on a ship to Athens probably to be deported.   They cannot communicate and they have no legal assistance.   http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1133671

Friday, Feb 19 In Patras, the police  warned earlier today the Sudanis living in the makeshift settlement in an old train depot that they should evacuate it (the plan is to make a parking there) or be arrested and deported. http://patras.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=7337

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Greece and France ask for more FRONTEX… on “humanitarian reform” background.

Posted by clandestina on 21 January 2010

These are only fragments of the way Greek government tries to divide and control immigrants  through integration carrots for long-residing and zero-tolerance-for-illegals stick.

source: http://www.ekathimerini.com

Franco-Greek immigrant plan

Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and France’s Minister of Immigration and Integration Eric Besson yesterday sent a joint letter to the Spanish government, which currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, proposing an upgrade in the powers of the EU’s border-monitoring agency Frontex to crack down on illegal immigration.

The proposals listed in the letter, sent to Spanish authorities ahead of an informal summit of EU interior ministers due to start in Toledo today, include “closer operational cooperation between Frontex and migrants’ countries of origin and transit countries.” The Franco-Greek initiative also proposes “the examination of the possibility of regular chartered return flights at the expense of Frontex.” [...].

source: http://www.ekathimerini.com

Premier heralds new asylum agency

Prime Minister George Papandreou yesterday heralded the creation of a new independent agency for the processing of thousands of immigrants’ asylum claims during talks with visiting United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

Papandreou reassured Guterres that the new agency would offer protection to those who need it but stressed that Greek authorities would intensify their crackdown on migrants entering the country illegally for the good of the country and the European Union. “It is certain that the potential of Europe and Greece to receive and integrate [migrants] is limited,” Papandreou said. The prime minister also stressed the importance of the “cooperation of countries bordering the EU… to ensure that those who are really in need are protected while reducing the burden faced by EU member states.” The two men reportedly discussed the role of Turkey in this regard. In a related development yesterday, Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said that he and his French counterpart Brice Hortefeux would tomorrow unveil a joint initiative aimed at “urging Turkey into respecting the agreements that it has signed.” The premier also briefed Guterres on a government bill, to be submitted in Parliament by next week, that aims to grant citizenship to tens of thousands of migrants living and working legally in Greece and to their children.

Guterres welcomed the news about the bill and the establishment of a new asylum-processing agency, noting that these measures would “secure human rights and social cohesion in Greece.” He added that he understood the need for Greece to conduct tighter border checks but remarked that “migration is a matter of human rights as well as national security protection.”

A working committee – comprising experts from the Citizens’ Protection, Interior and Health ministries, the UNHCR and a string of nongovernmental organizations – yesterday proposed that the separation of migrants meriting refugee status from economic migrants be carried out in special reception centers. These “first stop” centers are to be set up in due course though it is unclear where they will be located.

Apart from the claims for asylum being lodged by new migrants arriving in Greece daily, the new agency has some 44,500 applications that are pending.

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New case of severe immigrant abuse by cops of the Acropolis Police Station

Posted by clandestina on 2 January 2010

sources: athens indymedia, tvxs.gr

A Chillean immigrant detained was severely beaten on New Year’s Eve by personnel of various police forces at the infamous Acropolis police station.   His injuries were so serious that he was transferred to hospital – he is stille there in critical condtiion.  The immigrant had been arrested a week ago allegedly for having attacked someone with an iron bar.  Since he had no documents, he was detained and to be deported.

5 cops have been arrested for the case – which is a very very rare if not unprecedented thing.   Apart from torturing the detainee, in order to cover up their own action they prepared a file of proceedings with the false accusation that the 30-year-old had attempted to escape.

The minister of citizen protection released a sensational pledge that he is not going to put up with this kind of violence.

see also: http://libcom.org/news/torture-under-acropolis-03012010

updates (from comments on the article linked above): Two out of the five policemen charged for not stopping their colleagues torturing the immigrant were set free on January 5.
The rest appeared to the prosecutor on Thursday.

According to the testimony of the two officers they did not intervene when they “saw the arrested man handcuffed and two policemen kicking him punching him and beating him with a plastic glob in various parts of his body” as they “found nothing reprehensible in all these”. The three men directly accused of the torture testified to the interrogator today, without the script of their testimony been made public to this moment.   One policeman finally was imprisoned pending trial after giving testimony.

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Money for detention centers until “screening centers” come…

Posted by clandestina on 27 December 2009

source: athens news

THE GOVERNMENT has announced it will pay back all the money spent last year by the country’s border prefectures – including Samos, Lesvos, Chios, Chania and the Dodecanese – to maintain and operate the detention centres for undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. The prefectures have accrued some 8.5 million euros in debt.

The decision was announced by Deputy Interior Minister Theodora Tzakri during a meeting with the prefects in Athens on December 7.

“We are very pleased with the minister’s announcement,” Manolis Karlas, prefect of the island of Samos, which lies just off the coast of Turkey, told the Athens News immediately following the meeting. “She promised we would receive all the money owed by the end of the year. A first instalment will be paid next week. This money has been spent to feed and clothe the migrants and to pay for their transportation to Athens.”

Karlas, like the other prefects, is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the detention centres for illegal migrants.

“We have about 80 [migrants] on the island today,” he explained. “But during the summer months the number exceeds 800. And they all need food, clothes and shoes. We feed them three times a day. All this costs money.”

He and the other prefects informed Tzakri that the current situation has forced them to shop on credit and run up huge debts with local merchants.

The number of migrants sneaking into Greece has skyrocketed in the past few years. Official data compiled by Greece’s interior ministry show more than 146,000 migrants were arrested for entering the country illegally in 2008. This is more than double the number recorded three years ago. The government has repeatedly stressed the need for more EU help.

To provide a permanent solution, the Pasok government is planning to transform migrant detention centres into so-called screening centres, where undocumented migrants and asylum seekers will stay for only a few days as their status is being decided. A similar system exists in other European Union countries.

This is a major detour in policy pursued by the former New Democracy government, which had announced the creation of dozens of additional migrant detention centres across the country. It had planned to transform dozens of disused military facilities into detention centres and to detain undocumented migrants for as long as a year or until they were deported.

However, the conditions at many of the country’s existing migrant detention centres have been harshly criticised by representatives of local and international human rights groups, and the current government itself.

During a visit of the overcrowded facility on the island of Lesvos, Spyros Vouyias, the deputy minister for the protection of citizens, condemned the condition of the overcrowded facility on the island of Lesvos and ordered its immediate closure last month.

Using language surprisingly harsh for a cabinet member, he told reporters that conditions there were “appalling, inhuman, a violation of basic human rights”.

Last week, the government announced plans to overhaul existing asylum legislation in order to increase the number of people who may secure refugee status. Greece currently has the lowest rate of refugee recognition in Europe. According to Michalis Chrysohoidis, the citizen protection minister, it is currently 0.03 percent.

Chrysohoidis has also announced that the police will no longer be the sole decision-maker on asylum applications. This will be assigned to a new committee of government officials, legal experts and members of non-governmental organisations. As many as 40,000 asylum applications are currently pending.

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From Anti-Immigrant Summer to Zero Tolerance on Election Bait 

Posted by clandestina on 20 December 2009

Text in Greek available here.

On the occasion of the International Migrants Day

From Anti-Immigrant Summer to Zero Tolerance on Election Bait

Just over a month and half ago Prime Minister Papandreou used the Global Forum on Immigration & Development proceedings in Athens to sketch government measures which would stand for a humanitarian turn compared to the policies and situation of the recent months .  He described as necessary

“[T]o stimulate the participation of immigrants in the political life of the country, through the possibility of Greek citizenship acquisition, particularly of course for the so-called ‘second generation’, in which we are suggesting the acquisition of citizenship by birth for the new person born in our territory.”

For people in Greece, though, the announcement of the Secretary for Home Affairs Theodora Tzakri two weeks later, which made clear that Greek citizenship would be granted only to children born to legal immigrants, came as no surprise.

The doctrine of “Zero tolerance to illegal migration” goes hand in hand with this government’s humanitarian turn… As for what this turn is all about, it aims at incorporating immigrants mostly from Albania, after two decades of overexploitation, and in exchange for votes. A phony exchange indeed.

Along with this, the dividing of immigrants into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘useful’ and ‘superfluous’, ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ becomes more intense, and the system of exploitation grows deeper roots .

As we wrote in our above linked text on the Global Forum on Immigration & Development:

“The aim of developmental policy is to control migration flows (through the FRONTEX patrols and detention centres) as well as to regulate them (through 5-year rotating work permits, the annulment of asylum rights), in order to keep a stable proportion of productive inhabitants within the increasingly ageing, unproductive populations of Europe. In other words, recycling the migrants will keep the indexes of development in check, development being the systematic and bloodthirsty pillage of lives and resources, time and space.

According to the “UN Population Division report on replacement migration”, if the Europeans want to keep their ratio of older people to active workers at the 1995 levels, the Union will need 135 million immigrants by 2025.

This demographic issue is only part of the story, and maybe not the most important. Neoliberalization inside Europe has meant a weakened, destabilized labor force. It’s not just that capital wants selected migrants because it needs more workers, it wants migrants because they are powerless, unorganized, low-paid workers for whom there will be no job security, no health care and no pensions.In other words, they are far cheaper and less troublesome workers”.

Illegal immigrants are necessary because through them the rights of the legal ones are suppressed (there is of course rotation of people in these roles). At the same time, illegal immigration helps governments maintain a useful xenophobic atmosphere to impose authoritarian policies. “Migration management” includes both authoritarian hysteria and humanitarian logistics. The two seemingly opposite positions are the two sides of the same coin of subjugation.

So let’s outline against this backdrop the government’s humanitarian turn after the elections of October 2009…

The Doctrine “Insulated Greece”

The new doctrine was introduced by Minister of Citizen Protection (= Public Order) M. Chrisochoïdis on Tuesday, December 15, at his meeting with the FRONTEX Executive Director J.Laitinen.   The construction of the Southeast Mediterranean FRONTEX Headquarters at the U.S. base of Aktion or at Piraeus has been a permanent request of the Greek government, which proudly stated that 75% of illegal entry arrests at the sea borders of EU for this year took place in the Aegean sea.

A few days earlier in the frame of FRONTEX operations (on Saturday, December 12) officers in Samos island, on no notice whatsoever and violently, carried out with utmost secrecy the transfer of over 85 Afghan refugees from the local detention center to the island’s airport at Pythagorio.  There the refugees were boarded on an airplane which departed for an unknown destination.

The slaughter in the Aegean Sea continues

In less than two months, 16 migrants have died in the icy waters of the Aegean. Most of them were children.

  • On Tuesday, October 27, 8 immigrants, three adults and five children, drowned in the east part of the Aegean Sea.
  • On Saturday, November 7, the lifeless bodies of six children from Palestine, aged 2 to 12 years, washed up on shore near Bodrum (Alikarnasos), Turkey.  The boat in which 19 Palestinians – half of them children – squeezed themselves on an effort to pass from the Turkish town of Turgutreis to Kos island overturned 500 meters from the shore.
  • On Friday, December 11, a boat carrying undocumented migrants sank near the island of Leros. Fishermen found 25 migrants perched on a rocky island and two more lifeless bodies in the sea.

Police violence

Incidents of abuse and humiliation by the police amount to dozens, and most of them never reach the public attention. We report the following characteristic cases:

Para-state violence

The para-state mechanism was launched last summer against immigrants and since then it has been working relentlessly despite the supposed change of policy.

Para-state organized violence encourages and feeds the diffuse social one.

  • Thus, on November 8, four immigrants who had been working at olive fields in Messolongi, Western Greece, were attacked with crowbars and clubs and beaten savagely by circa 15 people. The immigrants were transferred to the emergency dept. of the Messolongi hospital. The immigrants had been asking their wages from the owner of the fields in which they had been working.  They were ambushed and beaten in an old warehouse, where they had an appointment with their employer to get their money.

Institutional violence

  • In late November the trial of 25 immigrants (mainly Arabs and one Afghan) took place; they had been arrested during the events of December 2008 and had been detained ever since.  All this period they were considered missing.  All of them were sentenced to imprisonment from 7 months to 3 years.  It is characteristic for the fairness of the trial that only one interpreter had been assigned , who translated simultaneously for 24 defendants who were divided in three groups in the court’s room.  The Afghan who did not understand Arabic was seated on the last bench of the room…
  • On Friday, December 11, in Thessaloniki, a report was issued by the Hellenic League for Human Rights, about the detention centers in Evros and Rodopi.  The survey took place from the 25th to the 29th of November 2009 and states:

In many cases there is inadequate lighting, ventilation and heating (…)  At virtually none of the premises visited have the possibility to go outdoors on some yard. Even in detention centers where there is an adequate yard, the large number of detainees on the one hand and the lack of personnel on the other allows usually only for some prisoners to have outdoor breaks for a minimum period and not on a daily basis (…)  Food in many cases is inadequate, the quantity and quality in general varies (..). The care taken for sanitation and hygiene conditions varies from inexistent to inadequate (…) The availability of medical and nursing staff is poor and at all cases occasional (…) The detainees were in total confusion regarding their rights, the time of their detention and ill-informed as to asylum procedures; interpreters were not available.

December 18, 2009

Clandestina Network

Group of Immigrants and Refugees, Thessaloniki

Posted in Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Kuneva’s case buried in political and legal manouvres

Posted by clandestina on 15 November 2009

The Greek government’s effort to hide the closing of Kuneva’s case in plain sight.

In the last week Konstantina Kuneva’s case made it into the headlines.   Kuneva spoke to tv channels and newspapers; the ministry of employment offered her an apartment; the minister of citizens protection (ex-public order) Chrysochoidis said he takes under his personal care the effort to find and arrest the perpetrator(s) of the crime against her. Together with the ministry of economics, he signed an 1 milion euros reward for them (400.000 more than the one for the anarchists “robbers in black”). The effort of the minister of citizens protection is clearly to appear unbiased against any kind of crime, to reverse the mood against him, that with his provocative stance towards Exarcheia he provoked the strike against the police station of Aghia Paraskevi… and of course to “disarm” ideologically anarchists in view of December.

All these at a time when the case’s legal future was decided by judges. The examiner of the case had suggested that it should be archived; the public attorney was against this; the pertinent to resolve the disagreement first degree council of judges decided not to close the case and go on with the examination process. . This was hailed by mainstream press as a progressive sign of the justice system willing to continue the search for truth and justice.

There is a catch to it, however. The case will not officially close, still, everything the attorney suggested that should be done was rejected, apart from the provision that Kuneva may be examined once more.   In other words, the decision does not at all take into account the memorandum by Kuneva’s lawyers on the blatant defficiencies and stubbornly wrong orientation of the police work on the case.

This means that the police will be judicially justified to continue turning away testimonies, as they did hours only after the event, when they turned away people from the nearby area willing to testify, on the pretext that since they did not see the crime itself happening their testimonies were useless!!! And of course, they are not going to look at the direction of Kuneva’s employers, who were palpably directing the research and examination process from behind the scenes.

In other words, the case is in effect closed.

Info and analysis from this week’s issue of KONTΡΑ newspaper.

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Both the Pagani 17-year-old refugee abuse case AND Mohammad Kamran’s death case considered “cold cases”.

Posted by clandestina on 13 November 2009

This a translation of this Nov 11, Avgi article, about this recent case of immigrant abuse in Pagani and the legal developments on Kamran Atif’s death .  Thanks to Efi for her work.

stapsa for clandestinenglish

The assault on the 17-year- old refugee is a “cold case”.

The assault on the 17-year-old refugee Mr. Mohamed Hussein Khantar by police guards in the Pagani refugee camp last October is considered a “cold case”. The same applies for the case of the death of the Pakistani immigrant Mohamed Kamran- who had been allegedly tortured in the police department of Nikea in Athens

According to newspaper Avgi’s sources, during the preliminary investigations conducted with regards to the assault case, Mytilene’s state attorney could not find sufficient evidence leading to possible prosecutions of police guards in the Pagani refugee camp. Thus, the case is considered cold, and all preliminary investigations regarding police officials are going to be archived.

The manner in which the case is concluded, confirms the fears of various bodies and organizations that an abuse case would be covered- up by the police forces. It is claimed that witnesses in the Pagani camp were offered “pink cards” in return for their silence, and were sent to Athens, where it is impossible to be traced.

Moreover, questions arise with regards to the contradictory conclusions after Mr. Khantar’s examination. According to his attending physician’s statement, injuries and traumatic lesions were found on his head, back area and hands; however, the medical examiner concluded that his injuries were older than the day of the alleged police assault.

The police assault has allegedly taken place in the afternoon of October 22nd, in the Pagani refugee camp, just a few hours after Mr. Spyros Vougias, who is the undersecretary of the Ministry of Citizen Protection, visited the camp. After the event was made public, the Ministry of Citizen Protection ordered a preliminary investigation of the case, which was conducted by Mytilene’s state attorney.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has made an announcement, pleading for an in-depth investigation of the case and a subsequent prosecution of the people involved. The Greek political party SYRIZA is planning to bring the topic in parliamentary discussion.

Kamran’s case

With regards to Mohamed Kamran’s case, leaked information from the Ministry of Citizen Protection reveal that toxicology tests show Kamran intoxicated; according to the same leak, the post mortem toxicology investigation found Kamran using alcohol and other substances before his death.

However, Mr. Fragiskos Ragoussis, Kamran family’s attorney stated that there are no official toxicology test results yet, and that in any case his clients are going to ask for a test re-run, since according to the Greek law the family has the right to appoint an external medical examiner during the autopsy.

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Minister of Citizen Protection, gladly surprised by lack of abuse, threatens…

Posted by clandestina on 10 November 2009

source, adapted from: http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=100563

Improved Detention Conditions promises Minister of Citizen Protection

Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Spyros Vougias went to see for himself the places of detention for foreigners. The aim of the ministry according to Mr. Vougias is to relieve the overcrowded detention facilities of the Immigration Police Service.

[clandestinenglish note: these facilities ]

Vougias welcomed  the eclipse of violence and abuse at the detention centers, but appeared concerned about the large number, larger than the permitted, of the illegal immigrants concentrated in them.

At the same time, he noted that the detention center in Pagani of Lesvos will reopen when prison conditions improve and in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, in Mytilene, a new site immigrants, who was destined for housing officers, will be used.

He also said that patrols on land and sea will be strengthened so that traffickers be identified and severely punished.  Mr. Vougias said that he has  informed the EU on the problems of migrant smuggling, and that there should be negotiation with Turkey, so that the centers are in the neighboring country and not in Greece.

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