June 2003: EU Summit Thessaloniki.
On Friday, February 13th, almost 8 months since their initial imprisonment, 13 people arrested during protests at the EU summit in Thessaloniki last June have had all charges dropped. 8 of the remaining cases are still under investagative review by the Greek Judiciary whilst the remaining 6 have had their charges dropped to misdemeanours. A final decision on whether to pursue allegations could come as early as next week. This is an enormous victory in the campaign against state repression waged by the Greek state against anti-capitalist protestors - although it must be remembered that the battle is not over yet.
Comprehensive coverage of the Thessaloniki Support Campaign can be found on the UK Indymedia site; Athens and Thessaloniki Indymedia sites both carry breaking news regarding the Thessaloniki 7 and the other accused.
"Our Passion For Freedom Is Stronger Than Your Prisons"
BREAKING NEWS! - 13 Feb. 04: Legal Team: Simon Chapman has been acquitted and the charges against another 12 protestors have been dropped! [Reports on IMC-UK 1 | 2 | feature] [Report in Infoshop News] [Report in IMC-Athens] [Report in IMC-Nice(fr)]
Update - 12 Feb. 04: Simon has written a letter to update on events in Greece.
Update - 1 Jan. 04: Simon Chapman is allowed to return to the UK for 2 weeks to attend his fathers' funeral (See the corporate media reports section).
Update - 17 Dec. 03: Latest report from Athens states the investigation against the allegations of planting [of molotov cocktails] against Simon Chapman has been closed as the evidence was "made up"!
Update 12 Dec. 03: The most recent news, however, is that the police are still trying to produce evidence linking Simon Chapman to the molotov cocktails.
On November 26th, the "Thessaloniki 7" won a five months struggle against the Greek prison system and various Greek authorities. Souleiman "Kastro" Dakduk from Syria, Simon Chapman from the UK, Fernando Perez Gorraiz and Carlos Martin Martinez from Spain and Spyros Tsitsas from Greece were on hungerstrike between 49 and 66 days in protest against the conditions of their arrest and imprisonment. Michalis Traikapis and Dimitris Friouras were also incarcerated in another, juvenile prison. The determination and dignity of their struggle for justice finally proved to be stronger than the Greek anti-terrorist legislation that framed, imprisoned and almost killed them. Their dedication and passion for freedom spoke louder than the judges, police chiefs and Greek ministers that hoped they would be forgotten. They weren't, and people in many parts of the world showed solidarity to their defiance whilst making clear that "They are inside for us, we are outside for them."
The seven were amongst 29 protesters arrested during the protests against the EU summit in Thessaloniki. While the others have been released, the seven were held on remand on charges of rioting, possession of explosives and resisting authorities. All 7 say that these charges are false. In Simon Chapman's case, video and photographic evidence confirm that he was framed.
The Thessaloniki 7 were released on 26 Nov at 4.00 p.m Greek time. The hungerstrike has come to an end after between 49 and 66 days [First pics of the hungerstrikers & health report & FZLN support message]. The 7 are not allowed to leave Greece until their trial takes place [imc athens | imc uk].
The Council of Judges ruled their release after the district attorney in Athens ordered doctors to force feed the hungertrikers. Pressure on the Greek authorities had increased since the hungerstrikers' health deteriorated. Solidarity groups formed all over the world, 28 European parliament members called for the prisoners' release, Amnesty International called for an independent inquiry.
Indymedia Athens states: "This is a victory of the struggle for dignity and freedom by the 5 hunger strikers, of the other 2 prisoners, but as well the thousands of people that stood up for them all over the world!!!! It is an outright defeat for the greek state-repression complex, and for the global "anti-terror" mechanisms".
26-11-2003 16:58The Thessaloniki 7 were freed on bail today (26.11) the Council of Deliquencies of Thessaloniki ruled that the Thessaloniki 7 are to be set free! Our Solidarity with the Seven has worked: Our passion for freedom was stronger than their prisons! We now demand all of the charges to be dropped. Justice for the Saloniki 7!
One of the activists said, “The evidence is striking! Simon was seen wearing his blue rucksack when he was first dragged across the street by the police. Minutes later he was filmed surrounded by three black rucksacks which the police had filled with molotov's. It's all on film!”
LATEST UPDATE -- They're OUT! All 7 have been released on bail. See IMC UK for more information.
Monday Nov 24 to Friday Nov 28:
- @ 12:30 distribution of leaflets on the case outside travel agencies accross the city center. Meet outside Thomas Cook on Briggade, opposite Borders bookshop.
- @ 18:00 meetings outside the Greek Consulate of Leeds. Meet at the Roundhay Fox pub, Roundhay Park (buses 12 and 2 from town).
Five of the 7 prisoners are currently on hungerstrike protesting the circumstances of their arrests and imprisonment. Four of them have been without any food for 24 days, whilst Suleiman "Castro" Dakduk has already been on a hunger strike for 37 days.
For more information see IMC-UK dossier "Thessaloniki Prisoner Solidarity".
More than three months after the EU summit in Thessaloniki, 7 people are continuing to be denied justice, despite overwhelming evidence that they have been framed and despite protests around the world.
Legal Update 16th September here.
Samba player in deep trouble after having been badly beaten by police and spending two days at Charing Cross police station; Witness appeal.
Liberty are asking for reports from people who were stopped and searched, ASAP. An email list has been set up for people who were arrested / beaten etc..
Since the 1st of September, 144 people have been arrested in protests against the Defence Systems and Equipment international arms fair (DSEi) that has been taking place in East London. Policing tactics have been condemned by a wide range of people and Liberty is have won the right to seek a High Court injunction over use of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000; they have also offered to provide legal representation for anyone stopped or detained under this legislation. Bindmans Lawyers have also requested information or witnesses from DSEi.
- Legal resources:
- Activists' Legal Project
- Legal Defence & Monitoring Group
- free B.E.A.G.L.E.S. legal resource centre
- Urban75 legal page
Numerous requests for witnesses have been made on the UK indymedia newswire [1 2 3 4 5 6]. There have also been several videos posted showing police violence against demonstrators which may provide evidence [ 1 2 - more can be found on the full reports from the 9th, 10th and 11th September].
Meanwhile, Anti-War demonstrators are still being threatened with - and receiving - harsh sentences. Protestors from Fairford come to trial next week while some are still fighting to get the charges reduced before they come to trial (Background to the case). Yet others are still looking for witnesses and some, like Ulla Roder (who was arrested for damaging a Tornado war-plane), have had their trials delayed numerous times.
Further afield, Simon Chapman and the Thessalonikki 7 remain imprisoned in Greece (solidarity website). Simon's first appeal has failed (against the charges) and he is currently awaiting the results of a second appeal. Key evidence such as the video have been re-submitted. In the United States, webmaster of raisethefist.com Sherman Austin has been imprisoned for 1 year; he has since been subject to death threats and is being kept in solitary on the grounds of safety as a reason.
10-08-2003 13:03Simon, arrested during the EU summit protests in Thessaloniki, is still in custody. An appeal against his charges was turned down. An International day of Solidarity for the Thessaloniki prisoners is called for Sunday 21st September.
Updates until 19 June | Ongoing updates | Simon Support Group