Some words about the case
On February 7th, 2014 anarchist communist Tasos Theofilou was sentenced to 25 years in prison, although he has denied all charges from the start. A three-member bench reached a majority opinion (instead of a unanimous verdict) at the trial court in Athens.
Tasos Theofilou was acquitted of severe charges in relation to “formation of and membership in a terrorist organization” (i.e. his alleged involvement in the urban guerrilla group Conspiracy of Cells of Fire), as well as possession of explosives and ordnance (these charges were also dropped, since the judges ruled that he was never a member of the CCF), forgery of five identification cards, use of a firearm, and two attempted homicides.
However he was found guilty of two felony charges: participating in a robbery with his physical characteristics covered, and being an abettor in manslaughter committed in a calm mental state. He was also convicted of three misdemeanors: carrying a firearm, repeatedly forging (accusation relating to vehicles of the robbers), and accepting proceeds of crime (the getaway car of the robbers).
In other words, the court decided that supposedly Theofilou (without being a member of the CCF or another organization) participated in the bank robbery on Paros Island in August 2012, but he was not the one who killed Dimitris Michas (the citizen who attempted to prevent the robbers’ escape). According to one of his defense lawyers, this is a decision taken on the basis of one and only indication (a controversial DNA sample on a hat which one of the robbers allegedly dropped). At least the imposition of life imprisonment was prevented, as he was not convicted of intentional manslaughter…
Many facts of the case and evidence presented to the court argued in favor of his acquittal (e.g. none of the eyewitnesses recognized Theofilou during the trial). Nevertheless, as had happened in the case of anarchist prisoner Babis Tsilianidis, also in this proceeding the defendant was adjudged to be guilty solely on the basis of DNA, which was allegedly found on a mobile object.
The court of first instance imposed: 16 years for abetting manslaughter, 15 years for committing robbery, 3 years for committing forgery, 2 years for carrying a firearm (plus a fine of 5,000 euros), and 2 years for accepting proceeds of crime; total: 38 years. The aggregate sentence is 25 years in prison. The comrade has the right to appeal against his conviction, but the appeal has no suspensive effect; that is, he must remain in prison until his next trial in the court of appeals (but in the meantime he can request that his prison sentence be suspended).
On November 21 2016, his appeals trial began after a 9-month postponement and a three year interval since the first instance trial. The appeals trial was completed last week and the court will come up with the final decision on July 6, 2017.On June 24, there was a solidarity rally in Athens. 2,500 people showed solidarity to Tasos while several solidarity events are taking place throughout Europe.
Theofilou's "plea" at the at the five-judge Court of Appeal on April, 28th
I shall start my plea by clarifying once again that I deny the accusations against me.
There are two counts of charges against me. The first is my alleged participation in the CCoF, the second one is my supposed participation in the bank robbery at Paros island. I will return to that later with more details but I would like to mention that I have never been in Agrinio city, I don't even know what it looks like and I only went to Paros one year before my arrest and did not even stay overnight.
There are two kinds of reality. The actual one and the one that has been presented as such in the court, during my first degree trial proceedings. The actual reality and the narrative of the Greek Counter-terrorism unit, that selected some real facts and redefined them based on their prejudices, based on their obsessions or based the result they wanted to achieve, and combined them not only arbitrarily but also with imaginary incidents.
Counter-terrorism officers created a fairytale so complete that they even included a dragon, in the form of a prosecutor of appeals (Note: the prosecutor was named Drakos which means dragon in Greek). There is an irony. A contradiction throughout the indictment. There is a comic and a tragic strand in relation to the actions that are attributed to me. The comic aspect concerns my participation in the CCoF and the tragic one concerns my involvement in a homicide. Taking a human life is, as worthless, for my own axiological code, as it is for the criminal code (unless we are talking about political executions, which in this case are not considered in a moral but in a historical and political context). On the contrary, I do not find any worthlessness in the accusation of participating in an anarchist organization, I just find it comical because of the discrepancy in our analyses.
You must have been informed that in anarchists' trials it is commonplace that much of the plea is comprised by a political strand. It is a tradition from which I shall not bypass, but it is important to point out that this strand is not decorative, nor is some kind of ritual. It is not just the political point of my apology, but the essence behind my persecution.
Nevertheless, I will try to be brief and only refer to the political context insofar as it affects and explains my persecution. I have no illusion that this part will be officially taken into account, or that it will somehow manage to be recorded in the rationale of your decision, but I think that by hearing it, you will understand the reasons that have led to, or allowed this persecution unfold.
My persecution has been part of a comprehensive effort of the domestic political personnel to introduce, implement and enforce the "Law and Order" doctrine over the past two and a half decades, but with a particular emphasis and intensified implementation during 2009-2015. It is a repressive doctrine, a doctrine that concerns both the Ministry of Publc Order and the Ministry of Justice, promoting a relationship of interdependence among them and was introduced by the Greek governments as a policy package from the United States. Besides, the ever-poor and dependent Greek State has been obliged to import its domestic legislation from the US, and already since 1947, Greece has copied and implemented Truman's laws on legality, in the framework of an anti-communism campaign and an attempt to vindicate traitors, security-battalions (note: the infamous paramilitary "tagmatasfalites" who collaborated with the German occupying forces)^^^ and nazi collaborators.
Ι shall discuss as briefly as possible, the most prominent events that were shaped by the implementation and enforcement of the repressive Law and Order doctrine in the years between 2009-2015 in Greece. The anti-crime rhetoric, exaggerated and disproportionate in relation to reality, was initiated at the beginning of the '90s during a shift to the neoliberal model, carried through by the Mitsotakis and Simitis administrations. The law and order doctrine was enforced gradually. We had our first taste before the Olympic Games in Athens, when the first anti-terrorism law came into force, but a more intense, a more concrete effort to enforce this law followed the revolt of December 2008.
In December 2008, a youth rebellion broke out, perhaps the most important movement since the restoration of democracy in 1974, in the aftermath of which the anarchist milieu is empowered and in a phase of developing its structures. Since the restoration of democracy in 1974, the anarchist movement, despite its limited potential on account of the small number of participants, and despite the fact that it doesn't possess and doesn't want to hold any position of power, it nevertheless constitutes a factor in shaping history and political reality, by being alive and active in every social and political struggle. A political movement that actually draws its strength from the fairness of the struggle and the selflessness of its comrades. The relations of solidarity that give it that power, were relationships that the counter-terrorism unit sought to test by criminalizing even their friendly, personal, fellow and family dimension. Young, excluded, unemployed, students, workers take their lives in their hands and become politically organized. They interfere with public life, struggle for their daily issues, occupy public parks that certain Mayors tried to turn into private parking lots. A barrage of incendiary attacks happened every night against the State and economic targets. Since the midst of 2009, in the aftermath of the revolt and while the first signs of the economic crisis started to appear, one year before the country's submission to the so-called "support mechanisms", began the attempt to intensify this doctrine of penal repression.
After the immigrants, anarchists shall follow next, declared a government official, when he started the pogrom against immigrants in the center of Athens with continuous "sweep operations" as they shamelessly called them, as if the immigrants aren't the damned of this world but the garbage that dirty the roads and destroy the citizens' aesthetics. And right after that, the first attempt to evacuate anarchist occupations began in the spring of 2009. At the same time, the first police motorcycle battalion unit was established, named "team D", whose activity became truly uncontrollable, with raids in political centres. Exarchia turned into an occupied area.
The first dramatic and well organized operation against the anarchist milieu started in September of the same year, and almost at the same time as the infamous statement G. Papandreou made, during his election campaign, "there is enough money", for whom an arrest warrant was never issued. The counter-terrorism police unit raided the house of CCF member Haris Chatzimihelakis, which led to arrest warrants against other group members, as well as any anarchist who ever visited the house, causing many comrades, regardless of membership status to the organization, to flee from Justice. It's worth noting that arrest warrants were issued on the basis that all visitors- whose presence at the house could be confirmed in any possible way- were anarchists (in some cases there was only an indication). Chionopoulos, the counter-terrorism officer also admitted this during the trial of appeals of this current case, which is presently ongoing. Fingerprints of young people who belonged to Chatzimihelaki's circle of friends, but were not anarchists, his classmates from a private school for example, were never checked, making it obvious that these were political persecutions and not even bothering to keep up appearances.
A witch hunt would begin which would be mainly based on having the choice to flee from justice. In the coming years, tens of anarchists would be dragged to interrogators and prosecutors, they would be pilloried wearing the white bulletproof jacket, they would become a headline in the news-bulletins and sent away to prison, but when many of them would be acquitted, or found not-guilty, this would not even make it into the short columns of those Media which had declared them guitly, while the footage of their arrests still accompanies news reports on relevant matters, years following their final acquittals.
Simultaneously, the enforcement of the Law and Order doctrine concerns not only anarchists but every community of struggle and every community facing exclusion. Entire regions that resist the degradation of their lives, from Keratea to Skouries, will suffer under the boot of riot police and the special repressive counter-terrorism unit: they would be pilloried and imprisoned.
It is worth mentioning the case against a number of HIV positive* women as an extreme and most obviously vulgar attack, in the context of the implementation of the Law and Order doctrine. Several women were arrested and pilloried based on the status of their health and were portrayed as a public danger on the grounds that they were prostitutes and as such, a threat to public health. In addition to the tragic event of describing seropositivity as a criminal offense, as it was later proved, some were not sex-workers while none was ultimately a "public danger". This time, the need of those in power to create a demon against which society will unite and activate its most conservative and cannibalistic instincts, did not target a community of struggle but a community of marginalized people who have almost no ability to defend themselves in public discourse. The then competent Minister of Health and orchestrator of this misery, Mr. Loverdos, will never be called to account for this crime that stigmatized and drove some of the women to suicide.
A few months later, my own arrest and the smear campaign against me, as I was labelled "the slayer of Paros", was another critical point in this frantic course of the state of emergency. It would be followed by "the recapture of the cities". A war terminology that Samaras, then Prime Minister, sprang out about the new pogrom against anarchists' squats, the most characteristic being "Villa Amalias", and the raids carried out by SCAU** this time.
During the "Xenios Zeus" operation, immigrants were given a taste of Mr. Dendias'*** version of the renowned Greek hospitality. An almost Orwellian operation, if not an operation inspired by self-sarcasm, that led every immigrant to think of Dendias when hearing about the renowned Greek hospitality.
The arrests of citizens in Skouries village of Chalkidiki, which were either based on DNA or on the accused having their cell-phone off on their birthday, led a number of local residents to prison, facing charges of involvement in a criminal organization. On the contrary, the gold-digging gangsters of Hellenic Gold, have never been prosecuted for attempting to destroy the natural environment in the area, for profit.
On a symbolic level, it cannot be regarded as an insignificant event when the counter-terrorism unit officers did not hesitate to publish photographs of the defendants for a robbery in Velvendo, Kozani, despite the obvious signs of torture on their faces, caused during the interrogation beating-up.
Anarchists have been remanded without trial for more than the 18 months, which Greek law dictates (as the maximum period of pre-trial detention) and in some cases for over 50 months, under a regime of "exception", on the basis of which, anyone who dares challenge the Capital and its State, the political system and its values, the judicial authority and its methods of dispensing justice, does not have the right to any form of protection offered as counterbalance to the oppression, on the basis of how social relationships were crystallized to their current shape through class struggle.<--------
The culmination of this "exception" or "emergency" regime was of course the establishment of C Type prisons.
All of the above have a specific function in public discourse, that is no other than the creation of a demonized sphere, within which are placed communities of struggle and communities facing social exclusion. All those who resist and those who have no place in society. The Law and Order doctrine in Greece reflects the political sphere in the field of criminal repression, where the responsibilities and consequences of the economic crisis are conveyed from capital to work and from the rich to the poor, who are eventually accused of being greedy and responsible for the crisis, because "they had been living in excess of their abilities" for many years.
The narrative of power presents the current economic crisis not as the outcome of structural reasons and causes inherent to capitalism, such as capital overaccumulation, but as the result of greed and laziness of the working class, perhaps also of some failures of the political personnel, that was driven to a "populist" mismanagement in order to satisfy the greedy workers. We have even been told that political demonstrations are to blame for the collapse of the economy. We recently witnessed Mr. Dendias, former minister of Public Order, to arraign a journalist employed in the national newspaper Kathimerini, because he didn't identify with the perspective of the newspaper, and had the audacity to believe that the protests that take place are not the real reason that shops in the center of Athens are driven to bankruptcy.
There is a focus on the anarchist movement and an emerging repression that is evident in the statements of the current leader of opposition, Kiriakos Mitsotakis, and the shadow minister of Public Order Mr. Maximos Charakopoulos, who use the derogatory term "Exarchistan" to refer to Exarcheia district, and commit to giving an end to the anarchist movement and the area, if they ever become an elected government. They will not seek an end to the Troika and the Memoranda (loan deals between Greece and IMF-ECB-EU), but an end to the anarchist milieu and Exarcheia. That is their pre-election commitment. Relying on this argument, they encourage their voters to elect them as a government. More specifically, Mr. Charakopoulos argued that: "as it has been clarified by Kiriakos Mitsotakis, for New Democracy, our priority is to satisfy this widely accepted demand".
This doesn't mean that the SYRIZA admninistration that followed, since 2015, isn't to blame for deploying tactics of repression as well. I will indicatively mention some typical examples such as the arrests of family members of the CCoF and the arrest of Maria Theofilou, who is my sister and wife of G. Petrakakos, as well as her subsequent placement in custody for three months. And as if this was not a crime, the informal re-introduction of special conditions of segregated detention, in the underground section of Korydallos Women's Prison, the most violent prison-raid of the police, for the last 20 years, took place when Paraskevopoulos was Minister of Justice, where dοzens of prisoners were tortured, humiliated and beaten up. Additionally, there were the homicide attempt against Sakkas and Seisidis "in order to secure their arrests" when in fact both were unarmed, the vindictive deprivation of the right to furlough for prisoners Koufondinas and Gournas, the admission of a healthy 6 year-old child in a mental health hospital after a vengeful court order aimed at his parents P. Roupa and N. Maziotis, members of Revolutionary Struggle.
The main difference that needs to be noted and emphasized is that the current government allows the same persecution tactics, but refuses to accept any responsibility for it, as opposed to the previous administration which not only enabled the same tactics, but also promoted them and attempted to capitalize on them through the Media, in order to gain a potitical advantage. We all remember former Minister Kikilias' appearance and statements at a press conference, as the natural and not the political chief of the police. The Police Chief simply sat next to the Minister, allowing the impression that any arrest and any arbitrary act of the police and the judiciary were the Minister's own personal success. These indicate a qualitative difference and should be pointed out, not to absolve the current government from its responsibility but in order to interpret certain events. Hence, their basic difference is, that while the current government follows the same repression tactics as the previous ones, it has not invested in them in terms of public relations, a fact that produces a qualitative difference, that allows us to differenciate one administration from the other.
The counter-terrorism unit operates within this framework. It's a unit that is not particularly concerned with policing. A unit which organically belongs to the Hellenic Police (ELAS), is endowed with enhanced powers and rensponsibillities of course, which in reality serves a political purpose, not the police. A unit that has undertaken the repressive management of the anarchist movement, as well as that of other communities of resistance. A unit that deploys methods that were developed by prosecuting authorities to tackle delinquent communities and crime rings. However, the anarchist milieu is not comprised of transgressors, it is a political milieu with public activities.
Within the anarchists there may be groups with no regard for your laws, illegal groups whose activities do not conform with the penal code, which provides the counter-terrorist unit with an excuse to treat the entire anarchist milieu as transgressors. Thus, by applying the network theory, which is the basic tool used in the persecution of drug dealers or extortioners, they detect the type of relationship that connects potential suspects, and reach conclusions regarding one's part within a network of criminal enterprise. The prosecution of people who are not part of an illegal network, are based on this tactic and consenquently, we witness prison sentences that can last for several years, until some Court of Appeals restores justice. It's not that the counter-terrorism unit does not understand that, from a policing perspective, this method should not by applied to other than delinquent networks. On the contrary, they are well-aware of it, but don't care because this is exactly what they aim to achieve: the repressive management of the anarchist movement.
The fact is that we are dealing with a police unit with political activity, and the ways this unit operates or has operated in the past during the period I referenced, became obvious through the testimony before you of the former counter-terrorist unit officer Giannis Frangkiskos, who testified seven years after the case, in this Court of Appeals for the current case, completely ruining the prestige which the counter-terrorism unit had taken great pains to construct. For some reason he hadn't been summoned to testify at my trial of first instance. Specifically because on that day and in that house, a series of machinations of the counter-terrorism unit had been initiated, their narrative produced a chain reaction that lead to many arrests. Even Chardalias started his testimony with the same narrative, from that time-point, so it's very important to pay attention to the testimony of the witness Giannis Fragkiskos.
First of all, Fragkiskos refuted the story of the anonymous phonecall tip. He referred to information that resulted from painstaking surveillance of anarchists. I will return to the anonymous phonecall later, but it is of a certain significance what he testified, and how he did not confirm the narrative of the unit he was formerly employed in, considering he was a high ranking member, directly involved in this operation, straight from its conception. The reasons this witness invoked are also conclusive, such as the increased anarchist presence in public events on the one hand, and assaults against capital and State targets on the other hand. By his own words, this compelled a wide enterprise to tackle such phenomena, to prevent future deterioration. He specifically testified about a political decision.
After completely rejecting the term "stash house" about the apartment in Chalandri (metropolitan area of Athens), Mr. Fragkiskos concluded that in his opinion, "we should have waited longer, to ensure that people wouldn't be wrongly accused". Finishing off his testimony, after he implied that he was forced to quit the counter-terrorist unit due to office politics, as he opposed the collective responsibility tactics that the counter-terrorist unit abided by, he ended up apologizing to the Court about the way things were done "leading many innocent young people to prison, young people who could have as well been his own children".
This testimony came as a reinforcement to my own words, because what I have supported for years, is now confirmed by someone who knows well what happened, from the inside.
I will comment briefly on some of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, mainly those of the counter-terrorist unit officers, since they have orchestrated my persecution. Mainly, I will refer to such issues which I observed to intrigue this Court, or Ms. District Attorney.
However, I will begin with an issue that didn't bother you so much as it did my defenders, related to the anonymous phonecall. It is as if we have reached an agreement, according to which we accept the anonymous phonecall as a real incident, and based on its evidential validity, we unwrap the chain of events. It is true that nobody in this court room believes that this phonecall ever took place, in fact the counter-terrorist unit did not even attempt to be convincing about it. It is however the unique way their narrative can start, instead of using the traditional phrase "once upon a time…" which would be typical to this sort of tales. Vaguely and in secret. This is how a case file opens. With "once upon a time".
This is the way every case file composed by the counter-terrorist unit begins, and you accept it, as a simple treaty, thus converting the function and even the very core of Justice into a secret. Everything begins from a secret that the counter-terrorist unit has the power not to reveal to you. And you accept it by a mere "come on, the officers just won't reveal information, it is not the end of the world". You have accepted a symbolism that was imposed by the specific unit through the years: "Don't ask too much, don't question our prestige, your only role, honorable judges, is to process. We have the knowledge, so don't ask too much, because we can not reveal our sources, just condemn the accused without questioning our holy mission." This is the symbolism.
It has been a long-standing demand of the Law and Order lobby to overcome the impediments and the assurances of the Enlightenment. Then we'd move forward to a model of Justice best portrayed by Judge Dredd. Counter-terrorism will be in control of the entire judicial process, from a suspect's arrest to his/her trial.
Chardalias came here, and among all other nonsence, he testified that the only time he saw me with such short hair was during my arrest, so that he could contribute to the concept that I somehow felt guilty and needed to disguise.
Initially, I wonder how can a man who claims to have seen me just twice in two years, express an opinion on my usual haircut. Perhaps somebody thinks it is weird to shave their heads in July and August, but I consider it most normal. Chardalias, who testified he had seen me only twice in his life, claims it was most impressive. He contradicts himself, even here. Simply by googling me, anybody can see my personal photos, that were released to the Press by the counter-terrorist unit. Note that these photos were not found in my own personal computer. Most of these photos were not found in my own home, with few exceptions. These photos of me were found in Sakka's computer, when he was arrested, and most of them were taken when we were undergraduate students in Thessaloniki. So, for two years, I was not at all an "unfamiliar face". In any case, my personal photos since 2002 and until 2012, are publically availiabe on the internet, by order of the district attorney. In several of these photos I appear to have the same haircut, which is here presented as suspicious, or as an effort to alter my physical appearence. Therefore, it is nothing strange. The fact that I do not have a steady haircut is demonstrated from the very same photos that were stolen and circulated by the counter-terrorist unit.
As commented by one of the gentelmen of my escort: your are on trial for hairs. (Note: "hairs" in Greek means "something completely insignificant").
His statement on the reliability of DNA evidence reflects an outright layman perception about this method, that the same test is used in Cyprus, in order to identify the remains of those missing (note: since the 1974 war) or for paternity tests, therefore, the test should be considered reliable.
Moreover, on the alleged surveillance from Sakka's house, to the Black Cat. Initially, I do not deny eating souvlaki at Savva's, or that I have visited Kostas' house, more than twice. Maybe even ten times, I do not recall, but I have definitely been there before. I am not familiar with the collage of events they came up with, even when this was unnecessary, but I have never been to any autonomous hangout at Zoodochou Pigis street and I have no clue which place they mean. If I had been there, I would not have a problem to admit it, as I do not hide being an anarchist, on the contrary I say it out proudly. The reason why I emphasized this, is to demonstrate their ability to impose their narrations, their fantasies, their obsessions and prejudices, and to claim them as reality. The substance of the surveillance is true. Its resulting evidence can be contradicted. However, it is of a little significance, as I do not hide my friendship and comradeship with Kostas (Sakkas), nor the fact that I have visited his house more than once. I suppose they tried to create a tale that would also include C. Politis.
Ms. Appellate Judge, you asked Mr. Chardalias if it was natural for those "shady figures" to visit each other's homes or if it requires a certain amount of suspicious trust among them. So Mr. Chardalias grabbed the cookie you threw, and decided that after being a biologist, he could also become a sociologist with an expert opinion on anarchists' habits. Allow me to make some necessary clarifications. Allow me to speak on behalf of my peers, rather than our persecutor. We are political beings with public activities. Not some kind of shady conspirators. We do not have horns or tails. Moreover, if it happens sometimes that we behave as normal people, it is because we are normal people, and not just for cover, as was implied by Mr. Chardalias. I find nothing suspious in visiting someone's house, with whom I 've had relations since 2002. A person who was not wanted by the police, nor was in any way involved with a police investigation, at that time. A person who was cohabitating with his girlfriend in her mother's house, who was going about normally, without conducting a conspiratorial life. On the contrary, it is remarkable that after seven years, five of which I have spent in prison, I still have to explain that souvlaki which we shared. And of course it's not just me, several others of his friends were harassed, so that reality could fit the size and shape chosen by the counter-terrorist unit.
Let me comment on something I noticed at Mr. Chardalias' testimony, although these comments may be repeated by the defence, but they already have much to tell. He claims that in the group in which Sakkas, Karagiannidis, Mitrousias and myself belonged to, each of us had a distinctive role, therefore it is subjected to law 187, pertaining to criminal organizations. However, he did not provide any evidence for that claim, or how he came to that conclusion. He just tried to fit his narrative under the provisions of the law. Nothing more. Not even one incident that could corroborate this case, this narrative. Not to mention the fact that three out of seven defenfants in this case have been acquitted, the forth one being myself, still in an uncertain state. So there are seven people who are members of an organization with dinstictive roles, but three out of seven were finally proven not to be such members, and one more, may not be as well. What kind of an organization with distinctive roles is this? You could argue, why not? Would he be ashamed to lie? He did not even hesitate to create false impressions, testifying about incidents which are refuted in the reports of his own unit, such as the alleged grenade that was supposedly found in Kosta's living-room.
I have one comment on Marinopoulos' testimony. During my first trial, when I asked him if he was the chief of my police escort, he denied it. When I asked him again in this trial, adding the fact that he signed the prisoner delivery record after transfering me to Domokos prison, he laughed and admitted it. He still instists that he didn't drive the vehicle during my arrest.
I will make a short parenthesis here, to explain why I am certain Marinopoulos was present at my arrest, and to explain why I would not give them my name. It is true that I resisted, both when the police attemped to take my DNA sample and my fingerprints, because firstly, as an anarchist I refuse to give any kind of information to the police, even personal ones, such as my DNA and my fingerprints. But I also had a legal leverage, since initially, they wouldn't tell me if I had been arrested and whether I was accused of anything, while later they said that I had been arrested and that I was acussed of resisting arrest. Hence, I had been arrested, because I was arrested.
However, I did tell my name from the beginning. Almost before they even asked. As soon as I entered the car and saw Marinopoulos was the driver, I was certain that it was the counter-terrorist unit, because it was not the first time that I had seen him. For two weeks previous to my arrest, he had appeared in front of me, wherever I would go, and had therefore caught my attention. Let me also explain why I said my name out loud, immediately. In January 2011, three anarchists from Thessaloniki had been arrested, for different reasons, one of which was Dimitris Dimitsiadis, a friend of mine, so I paid close attention to the case. Before arresting him, the counter-terrorism unit, had by mistake arrested the Secretary-General of the youth section of Syriza party. This man went on several tv shows to report this - I even invited him as a witness to my first trial, but not in the present appeal, because he is an executive officer of the government and I would like to avoid any relevant implications.
He complained that, as he was walking, some men attacked him, covered his head with a hood, tied him up and put him into a car. They blamed him for ruining their vacation and led him to the Central Police Headquarters of Attica (GADA). There, when they discovered on him an ID card which he had previously picked up from the pavement, and intended to deliver to the local police station, they started beating him up. The truth is that watching him tell the story on TV, I was laughing at their resemblance. I could have also mistaken the two of them. I was contemplating then, and I still remember it, imagine being arrested for something you have no clue about, and even being blamed for ruining the officers' holidays, to search for you. Luckily, I thought, he was a political party executive and would be spared the accusations for the ID card that he carried on him, only because he was at the wrong place, at the wrong time. So when Marinopoulos told me that I had ruined their summer, I though that this may be another mistaken identity case, and immediately I said my name, in case they realize the mistake and let me go. But eventually, it was me they were after. This much about Marinopoulos and his lies.
Mpachatelas was an interesting witness because, although he stuck with the official policy of his first testimony, in his own way he made it clear that he had several doubts about seeing me.
Let's talk about Mr. Giorgos Nasios' testimony and some issues about the house. There is a big discussion if I had used cartons to cover my windows or not. Ι personally had not, but after Mr. Nasios mentioned it, I assumed that this had been done by the counter-terrorist unit, during the investigation. It was my assumption. I will start from the obvious. Let's assume I had used cartons. What would this mean? Why would it be suspicious? The house had three facades. On the one side, it was the ground floor and on the other the third floor. The neighbors would often pass by the ground floor side, so I chose to have my shutters closed, to avoid them staring inside. I could have used cartons, but I did not think about it.
Mr. Nasios came here to make clarifications, as to how his previous testimony had been altered, and to say a few good words about me, but Ms. district attorney wouldn't let him. The previous renter had told him that I was a fellow student, so he wouldn't worry about rent payments, and also to keep the rent low. To keep it this way, we didn't sign an official contract. I never gave him a false name, never lied to him about myself. Even that one time, when he saw me with my books open, typing in my computer, and he asked me if I was studying for my degree, I replied that I was no longer a student, to disengage myself from that lie. I said that I had quit, not that I had never been a student in that particular college (TEI). Big deal! These are details that I remembered after reading the case files. In any case, the house was too small all in all. When somebody opened the door, they could see the whole place, and he hadn't mentioned any cartons before the counter-terrorist unit allowed him to use the house again. But even if I had, it is my prerogative. Aside from that, I informed him every time I traveled to Athens or Thessaloniki, discussed my father's job, my name etc. A very common behaviour for somebody who conducts a conspiratory life.
Let me shortly comment on the testimonies of the eyewitnesses. In my opinion, the only safe conclusion that someone could reach, is that nobody identifies me as one of the perpetrators. Notwithstanding the irregular procedure, and despite the fact that I was pointed out as one of the perpetrators, the citizens of Paros resisted the pressure imposed on them from the prosecution. Even the bank employees, who probably risked displeasing their employer, had nothing aggravating to testify against me. They are people who were subjected to psychological pressure, who were scared, and who may even have been shot at, according to their testimonies. Nevertheless, they expressed their sympathy towards me and refused to accuse me. Because they are not convinced by a mere resemblance, as was the prosecution. Because if I had been the perpetrator, they would have recognized me, as I recognized Mr. Karvakis in the court, although I had only seen him while wearing a hood, only for a few minutes. I remember exactly what we said, what he asked me. If somebody asked me to describe him, I couldn't do it, I still cannot. But when I saw him, I immediately recognized him, almost in a metaphysical way. The same way I remember Chardalias and Marinopoulos. My intuition tells me who is who. Not a description.
Therefore, the comparison can not be between photos and reality, but between reality and reality. As it can not depend on the skin color of the robber, in August 2012, and my skin color in April 2017, after having been incarcerated for five years, away from the sun, but on my skin color at the time when I was arrested. We can also compare photos to photos. How could I have grown a three week long beard in eight days?
And in any case, if we consider the eyewitness testimonies, the only one who saw the robber without a hat, assuming that a hat had fallen, described him with brown curly hair. Anyone who completes the hidden features of the perpetrator by forcing his imagination to display my own face - as the prosecution did - should take into account this variable, which completely changes the facts.
With regard to the perpetrators, they spoke Greek well and they were not small-time kiosk robbers. I do have a forensic point of view on this. Bank robbers rob banks, money transfers, and generally large financial targets. Kiosk robbers rob kiosks, gas stations, wine cellars, mug grandmothers in the street etc. They belong to two different categories, therefore invariably bank robbers are not kiosk robbers. It is self-evident. Bank robbers, in contrast to kiosk robbers, have some very specific peculiarities as offenders. From my prison experience, they constitute an offender community on the verge of extinction, characterized by its ethos. Additionally, they mainly represent delinquency of the middle, the lower and the working class. Unlike the luben delinquents who steal from the weakest, they in fact steal from the strongest. I have a friend who is in prison for bank robberies, who recently told me that in his trial he argued with a witness, a cashier of the bank he had robbed, because the witness did NOT testify that the robbers did not take the money of a bank customer. He is a penal prisoner, not an anarchist.
It is certainly honorable to attribute this robbery to anarchists only because during the act, the perpetrators did not steal the money of the clients, but even this assumption is inaccurate. Mr. Samios (a bank customer) spoke about the perpetrators, and said they were people who had been expelled by the system. For me, this point of his testimony is of utmost importance, although it was not given as much attention as the fact that customer's money was not stolen. It matters because that excludes me as a suspect, since I have never been expelled by any system, even after five years of incarceration. The fact that I have committed myself to the struggle against the system is something else.
I shall say a few things about the notorious findings at my home, in Lamia. Starting with an observation mentioned several times by the district attorney, although it is personal, and I would have liked to avoid it, but I can comment to a certain extent. This little paper, with the note "product of expropriation". This is a card that accompanied the book, that was also read along with its dedication. It's the book "Journey to the End of the Night" by Louis-Ferdinand Céline. A friend of mine stole it from a bookstore and gave it to me. This is all, and you can and verify it with a simple graphology exam. Of course there is an issue with this book, as we have reached the point of examining book titles. This is not to win the sympathy of Ms. district attorney, but rather to justify my ownership of it, and also the reason I remember some relevant details. Céline, the author of this book, was anti-semitic and pro-Nazi, but this particular book is appreciated amongst us, and this contradiction brings to mind some details.
Furthermore, on the fingerprints found in my house that belong to various people. Most of them are my friends, except for two or three whom I do not know, Chrysikos for instance. However, from the time I rent the house until my arrest, some of these people had been in prison during the entire time, so it was physically impossible for them to have been present in my home, despite their fingerprints having been found there. In any case, the only thing that emerges is self-evident. That I am an anarchist and I have anarchist friends, who may have been involved in various cases, so it becomes clear that I have never been an unknown person to the counter-terrorism unit.
As far as the bulletproof jacket is concerned, I could claim that I wanted it for my own protection. It is not an offense to own one, and it does not incur a penalty. So why I shall present a witness to testify that we needed it for a movie? I would not go into the process of bringing proof for this film, and witnesses, if it was not true, not about something that is not even illegal. And in any case, the time when the script was written and the film was filmed, were before my capture.
I will continue with the commentary of defense witnesses, explaining a few issues that were pointed out by the court, the district attorney and the prosecution.
Of course, it would have been significant for the civil prosecution, the district attorney and the apellate judge to have shown the same degree of scrupulousness for the punctilio for the Directorate of Criminal Investigations' (DCI) report, which can only be marginally described as a formal report, as they did for the report of Mr Karathanasis (the expert witness on video forensic analysis) who received criticism even for the numbering of the pages. You showed no particular care about the validity and the reliability of an apparently inadequate report which incriminates me "beyond the shadow of a doubt" but instead focused on a thorough report that does not find me innocent but merely points in this direction. Mr Karathanasis was even criticized because his report does not list any possible similarities of me with the perpetrator, but instead lists only our differences, and states that it is impossible for my beard to have grown so long in such short time. As if the aim was to find similarities, not differences. As if the only purpose of this trial is my condemnation.
On the other hand, the first question the DCI must answer is why they waited until August 18th to perfrom the the DNA test on their evidence. Why did they wait for my arrest to take place first, if not to make a comparison with my own DNA? What was the hat doing during this time, if we assume that there was such a finding and that it is the one the perpetrator wore, and it's the one that was sent to the DCI? Where was the hat for six days? For whom was it waiting? Why, when the counter-terrorism unit received an anonymous phone call on August 14th, which was allegedly pointing at me, did they not contact the local police station in Paros to ask for an update on the case? Why did the counter-terrorism unit not ask for the hat to be examined for DNA evidence already on August 14th, since the test results would have aided the investigation? What was Chardalias and his group waiting for, for four days? What happened that made him request to be placed in charge of the investigation at 18:00, on the 18th of August? Did they have any evidence then? Did they find my DNA? And if so, how come they managed to get DNA results in only a few hours?
There have been some comments about the "belated appearance" defence witnesses. The issue is not that these comments were made by the prosecution, but they were also expressed by the district attorney, as was done in the first trial. Initially, let me point out that it is a cause of concern, especially in a trial of great public interest as this one, that the district attorney so outrightly discredits the public trial hearings procedures. Do public attorneys feel comfortably only inside their own offices?
Several issues led me to the decision that no one should testify to my defence during the main interrogation. My opinion was that frame-ups cannot be exposed behind the closed doors of interrogation rooms but only during the public trial process. Also, inviting defence witnesses to come forward during the main interrogation means that you are likely to be released until the trial, something that was obviously not about to happen in this case, judging by the intentions of both Mrs. Dimitriou, Mr. Mpaltas and all others handling my case. I did not even request to be temporarily released until the trial. The counter-terrorism unit devotes all its potential in the case they are building, and up until the time a special ordinance is issued with the assistance of special appeals prosecutors, they are rogue. If I had invited defence witnesses to the main interrogation, there was a good chance we would all have been accused of belonging to another criminal organization. They still accuse me of joining the CCoF just because I shared a souvlaki dinner with someone who is also charged with joining the CCoF, and you consider it strange that I wanted to protect my immediate environment, when the counter-terrorism unit had become completely rogue. Both the atrocity of the counter-terrorism unit and all their contradictions are evident in the case-file itself.
I shall say something more. My first wish was that none should come to testify in this trial, apart from geneticists. My rationale was the following: I was blamed for something so serious and yet, they presented as evidence something that looks like the result of a game of solitaire. I will not apologize, they should. They must prove that I am guilty and not I that I am innocent. We must resist this tendency to treat prorsecutions in a metaphysical way. Eventually, my attorneys persuaded me that the declared principles of Justice is one thing and experiencing the reality of the judiciary is another.
Last but not least, a particular climate was constructed and some allegations were made by the prosecution that penetrated the courtroom through the Media: that I was unemployed. At the same time, my case file includes the splatter novels I uploaded on my blog, titled "Paranoiric", in order to construct the profile of a blood-thirsty type of criminal. But the only real conclusion that can be derived from reading those novels, is my aversion towards some of the jobs I've had. How could I have felt this anger that is portrayed in Paranoiric, against some situations that happen in the workplace, had I never worked?
I believe that the above constitute some main parts that are worth explaining. So once again I shall repeat that I didn't have any kind of participation in the CCoF organization nor in the robbery on Paros. The one and only time I have come across a gun, was when one was stuck against my temple, during my arrest.
In conclusion, I once again repeat that I have not committed the crimes I am accused of. But I have committed a crime that encompasses all crimes: I am an anarchist. In the class war, I have sided with the exluded and the underprivileged, the hunted, the damned and the poor, the weak and the oppressed. On the one hand my incarceration is the natural progression of this life choice, and on the other hand, prison is just another field of struggle. But if after all these, after so many months and trial hearings, you still believe that the following excerpt from the counter-terrorism law that says "possible to seriously harm a country, in order to seriously intimidate a population, to seriously harm and destroy the fundamental constitutional, political and economical stuctures of a country" can best describe me, and not the trοika (ECB-IMF-EU), you might as well pronounce me guilty. If you also believe that I killed an unarmed citizen by shooting four times in contact range, in hot or cold blood it matters little, then again you might as well pronounce me guilty.
*who were hunted and humiliated by the former Minister of Health, Andreas Loverdos
a documentary about the case here: https://ruins-documentary.com/
**ScaU = Special Compressive counter-terrorism Unit - Greek initials: EKAM
*** Nikos Dendias former Minister for Civil Protection, ordered massive immigrant arrests in 2012.
***** Chardalias belongs to the counter-terrorism unit. He is the Head of the 3rd Department of Information Office (Internal Terrorism).
^Dimitriou: Ms. Dimitriou is the public prosecutor who jailed T. Theofilou and many others anarchist comrades. She is now a Prosecutor in the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece.
^^ Mpaltas, Special Appeals Ιnvestigator
^^^ Security-Battalions(tagmatasfalites): paramilitary group acted in Greece in Second World War in cooperation with the Nazi-German occupation forces.