Updates on anarchist/antiauthoritarian prisoners in Greece (November 16, 2010)
The package-bomb case
At midday on November 1, two anarchist comrades—22-year-old Panayiotis Argyrou and 24-year-old Gerasimos Tsakalos—were arrested in the Pagrati neighborhood of Athens. Their arrest took place a few minutes after a package addressed to the Mexican embassy exploded at a nearby shipping office, leaving an employee with minor injuries to her fingers. Argyrou and Tsakalos were waiting at a bus stop when they were suddenly surrounded by motorcycle police from the DIAS squad. Although prepared for this kind of unwanted encounter—they were wearing bulletproof vests and carrying Glock 9mm pistols with spare magazines—it seems our comrades were caught very much by surprise. From all the defamatory, misleading, or just plain stupid articles, analyses, columns, etc., that have appeared in the press since then, we’re only interested in mentioning what’s relevant to the “practical” aspects of the arrest. So, according to police sources, what mistakes did the “bombers” make? To begin with, one of them walked into the shipping office in question a few days earlier, wearing the same disguise (a wig, etc.) and asking about shipping information. This aroused the suspicions of the employee, who recognized our comrade immediately. Then, unaware that the package left at the first shipping office had exploded, the two comrades went on their way and mailed another package from a second shipping office located just 500 meters from the first. They also aroused suspicion at this second shipping office: The one who went in to mail the package refused to give the name of the sender, he walked out while talking on his phone, he wore gloves despite the day being quite warm, and after paying he left without waiting for his change. Additionally, during the first few days of each month there is an even greater police presence throughout the entire Athens metropolitan area due to robberies, which are especially frequent during those periods, as well as the floods that usually occur at the beginning of November.
In any case, the 15 package-bombs mailed that day from different Athens locations (according to the pigs, there were at least one or two other groups that mailed packages) were very low-strength and marked with the return addresses of real people or organizations that had relationships with corresponding embassy staff. For example, the package-bomb deactivated at the Dutch embassy was marked with the return address of a well-known criminologist, while the one sent to the Chilean ambassador was marked with the return address of a labor union.
Photos of Argyrou and Tsakalos ran for several days on the front pages of most newspapers. Argyrou has been awaiting trial for a city bus arson that happened two years ago, and since October 2009 he has had a warrant out for his arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. A day after our comrades’ arrest, the police released photos of the remaining five people with arrest warrants pertaining to the Fire Cells Conspiracy case, accompanied by a phone number for snitching. Most newspapers published the photos, once again demonstrating the democratic complicity of organs of repression and disinformation. A week later, a photo of Tsakalos’ older brother was also published, thereby adding his name to the list of Fire Cells Conspiracy arrest warrants. All the mass media outlets went into a literal delirium, portraying the arrested comrades as “enemies of society,” “heartless psychopaths,” “failed saboteurs of stability,” “those who humiliated our country in front of the whole world,” etc. While the yellow press continued to reveal new details about the private lives of those arrested and at large, the “more serious” reporters began to “analyze the psychological profile of the new generation of terrorists,” talking about their “antisocial nature,” “disregard for established values,” “political and moral degeneration,” and sometimes even using strange semantic constructs like “nihilist nihilism.”
In response, there were a few solidarity actions. During the night of the arrests, some luxury cars were torched in Exarcheia. Then, a number of vehicles belonging to the Public Power Corporation (DEI) were set on fire. Finally, on Saturday, November 6, ten vehicles belonging to Telefónica burned in the Aghia Paraskevi neighborhood, with Terrorist Complicity/Combatants from the Abyss claiming responsibility. In addition, on November 4 a small group of 20 gathered in solidarity in front of the courthouse, which was literally crawling with every kind of pig and goon from the department whose Spanish equivalent is the Intelligence Squad. When Argyrou and Tsakalos—escorted by blowhards from the counterterrorism unit, masked and armed to the teeth—were led inside the building and taken away two hours later, they were greeted with cheers and slogans. Also, on Wednesday, November 10, a group of 40 anarchists occupied the local office of the Newspaper Editors’ Union (in other words, the safe house for paid snitches) in Thessaloniki and sent all bourgeois media outlets a communiqué denouncing the role of reporters as the repressive organs’ media arm.
After their arrest, both Argyrou and Tsakalos refused to participate in proceedings requiring their testimony in front of judges and prosecutors. On November 4, it was unanimously decided to imprison them on charges of four felonies (“explosives possession,” “causing an explosion that endangered the public,” etc.) and four misdemeanors. Argyrou is at Korydallos Prison in Athens, while Tsakalos was brought to Malandrino Prison. Argyrou is also facing the same charges as all the others charged in the Fire Cells Conspiracy case.
The Fire Cells Conspiracy case
The trial of the 13 people charged with participating in the Fire Cells Conspiracy will be held on March 17, 2011. That number includes the four who are already being held in pretrial detention (Konstantina “Nina” Karakatsani, Panayiotis “Takis” Masouras, Harilaos “Haris” Hatzimichelakis, and the recently arrested Panayiotis Argyrou); the three who were arrested and released on probation; the five who have warrants out for their arrest; plus Gerasimos Tsakalos’ brother, who is also in hiding. All are charged with “membership in a terrorist organization,” as well as charges (“explosives manufacture, possession, and distribution,” “causing an explosion,” etc.) stemming from three specific attacks claimed by the Fire Cells Conspiracy: against the Athens apartment building of former Interior Minister Panayiotis Hinofotis on July 10, 2009; the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry in Thessaloniki on September 2, 2009; and the Athens home of PASOK political couple Louka Katseli and Gerasimis Arsenis on September 23, 2009.
The Revolutionary Struggle case
The four people subpoenaed by the prosecutor to testify as “members of Revolutionary Struggle”—among whom are Constantinos “Costas” Gournas’ partner and a well-known anarchist (the two others are not connected to the anarchist/antiauthoritarian milieu and were most likely subpoenaed because of nothing more than fingerprints found at the homes of some of the accused)—were not arrested, but they were subjected to conditions like being “prohibited to leave the country,” and they will have to sign in at a police station each month.
Meanwhile, the three who have taken responsibility for participating in Revolutionary Struggle (Gournas, Nikolaos “Nikos” Maziotis, and Panayiota “Pola” Roupa) published a letter that explains their decision to take that step and reveals their positions on the topic of solidarity, the term “political prisoner,” etc. The letter is quite long, but an attempt will be made to translate it as soon as possible.
The Simos Seisidis case
Symeon “Simos” Seisidis is facing several trials. You’ll recall that he had been in hiding since January 2006, charged with participating in the same bank robbery as Yiannis Dimitrakis, before being arrested on May 3, 2010 after being shot by the pigs, the consequences of which meant the amputation of one of his legs.
Seisidis is charged with seven armed robberies, all of which took place while he was at large and all of which are unsolved, with little or no related evidence. It’s therefore easy to charge an anarchist whose photo, along with those of his brother Marios and friend Grigoris Tsironis, “decorates” the walls of police stations and other such places. Simos’ case exemplifies the principle of “guilty until proven innocent.” He will next appear before the Athens Supreme Court on November 19 and 24, and solidarity demonstrations in front of the courthouses have been called for both dates.
In a great display of solidarity, and thanks to the money raised by comrades (in Greece and abroad), a high-quality artificial leg was finally bought for Simos (at a cost of 39,000 euros) just over a month ago.
The trial of Alfredo and Christos
Comrades outside Greece often ask: Why is nothing going on with Alfredo Bonanno and Christos Stratigopoulos? From the moment of their arrest on October 1, 2009, there have been many attacks in solidarity with them, as well as posters, graffiti, etc. However, due to their decision to refuse a specific “political campaign” (in other words, massive turnouts in the form of marches and demonstrations), the usual public displays have not taken place. Their choice—which has a lot to do with Bonanno’s fragile health, along with other factors—has been respected, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from supporting them economically.
Bonanno and Stratigopoulos recently published a little note regarding their trial, which is coming up a few days:
Thanks to all the comrades everywhere for the solidarity you have shown us thus far, but we ask you to not come to our trial, which will be held in Larissa on November 22, 2010.
—Alfredo & Christos
Yiannis Dimitrakis’ final appeal hearing
On December 6, Yiannis Dimitrakis will appear in front of the second circuit court of appeals. It will be the final legal chance for him to reduce his sentence. Dimitrakis was sentenced by the first circuit court to 35 years in prison for a bank robbery.
In the days leading up to his court date, different solidarity actions will take place at the national level and—depending on comrades outside Greece—perhaps internationally, like last April.