Archive | March 17, 2011

New arrests in the Fire Cells Conspiracy case

From Klinamen (March 16, 2011):

On the morning of Monday, March 14, an operation coordinated between the Special Violent Crime Response Division (DAEEB) and the Special Antiterrorist Unit (EKAM) raided and searched two homes—one in Nea Ionia on the outskirts of Volos, and one in the northern Athens neighborhood of Cholargos. Five people were arrested in Nea Ionia, three of whom had warrants out for their arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy: 25-year-old Giorgos Nikolopoulos (in hiding since October 2009, he is the brother of Michalis Nikolopoulos, who was arrested on January 19, 2011 and later admitted to being a member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy), 24-year-old Damiano Bolano (in hiding since October 2009, he is the only non-Greek who has been arrested on charges related to the Fire Cells Conspiracy, and the right-wing press is been making a fuss over his Albanian origins), and 32-year-old Christos Tsakalos (in hiding since early November 2010, one week after his brother Gerasimos Tsakalos was arrested alongside Panayiotis Argyrou on charges of mailing package-bombs). All three are being charged with “membership in a terrorist organization,” “supply, manufacture, and possession of explosive material and explosive devices in a conspiracy to cause public danger to third-party entities and a danger to people,” and “detonation, after using explosive material, which could have caused  public danger to third-party entities and a danger to people.” Some time ago, all three were already being singled out as “ringleaders of the Fire Cells Conspiracy.”

The other two people arrested in Nea Ionia were 31-year-old Olga Economidou and 29-year-old Giorgos Polydoras. According to police sources, in the Nea Ionia apartment they found three AK-47s, seven handguns, one .38 caliber revolver, 5000 bullets, two .6 kg sticks of TNT, several police uniforms, wigs, walkie-talkies, seven fake ID cards, two pairs of fake license plates, four miniature cameras, a laminating machine, adhesive, and other materials for forging documents. On one of the computers they supposedly found drafts and final versions of communiqués and texts (the “International Call,” etc.), as well as the logo used recently by the Fire Cells Conspiracy. Additionally, a car with fake plates was found quite close to the apartment. The car had been stolen two nights prior. On Monday afternoon, the usual police raids on the homes of the parents of the arrestees (six homes raided, nothing found) were accompanied by the search of a Kallithea apartment rented one month ago by Christos Tsakalos using a fake ID. There, pigs seized 35 suitcases full of clothing and tools, two fake ID cards, three laptops, a handgun, five miniature cameras, and another laminating machine.

Meanwhile, in Cholargos the pigs arrested two people, one of whom was released shortly thereafter due to a lack of evidence. The other arrestee was 26-year-old Constantinos Papadopoulos.

Naturally, the press are celebrating with headlines like: “Cells Leaders Caught,” “Cells Triad in Handcuffs,” “They Were Planning Bombings and Robberies,” etc. Based on the little information offered by the Police (who for the moment are “continuing the investigation” and not jumping to pompous conclusions), the press are making up their own script, pointing out other people, and insinuating connections with other groups like the Revolutionary Sect and the Revolutionary Brigade (who carried out 12 bombings between 2006 and 2008). The six arrestees also seem to be in danger of being charged with several bank robberies carried out in recent years by people wearing police uniforms. Ballistic analysis has confirmed that all the weapons found are “clean,” meaning that they haven’t been used in any attack carried out in recent years.

At noon on Tuesday, all six arrestees were brought before the prosecutor. They were transferred from Police Headquarters to the Athens Supreme Court, where there was a small demonstration of about 20 family members and people showing solidarity. Despite the suffocating police presence, slogans were shouted when the Antiterrorist Unit convoy arrived and entered the building’s garage. Comrades in Nea Ionia also held a spontaneous demonstration on Monday that attracted about 50 people to the same neighborhood where our comrades were arrested.

Lawyers condemned the mistreatment (beatings, cigarrette burns) experienced by the arrestees on the 12th floor of Athens Police Headquarters, which is where the Antiterrorist Unit has its offices. Giorgos Polydoras and Christos Tsakalos are also being charged with the Fire Cells Conspiracy package-bomb mailings of November 1, 2010, while Damiano Bolano and Giorgos Nikolopoulos have already been brought to prison. On March 16, all six were again brought before the prosecutor to give statements about the weapons that were found. Constantinos Papadopoulos said he had nothing to do with the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but he stated that he was an anarchist. He was released on bail of 10,000 euros, but he is prohibited from leaving the country and will have to sign in at his neighborhood police station three times a month. The five Nea Ionia arrestees again refused to participate in the proceedings and said nothing. They were ordered to be placed in preventive detention. Right now, all five are being charged with membership in the Fire Cells Conspiracy, and they also all have “weapons possession” charges. We will publish contact information for the five comrades as soon as it is available.

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