Τετάρτη, 17 Δεκεμβρίου 2008

Woman arrested and attacked by the greek police for no reason

Uncalled-for Police Violence in Athens

Assault and battery against a young woman who was later arrested and humiliated

 

Text by Xripol, Translation by ChristinaM 

 

 

The Background

Myrto is a 26 year-old woman from Greece, who currently lives and works - being a postgraduate student - in Brighton, England. A few days ago she went to Athens to spend Christmas with her family. She is young, full of life, ideas and dreams; an artist, an idealist, a pacifist, a vegetarian...
She is an amateur photographer and she often carries her camera with her. She intends (or intended, anyway…) to return to Greece in February.



The
Incident

On Monday 15 December, a few minutes before 14:00, Myrto was walking with her mother – in a hurry, to make it to the bank in time. They live in Gyzi, close to the premises of Athens General Police Directorate (GADA). On their way to the closest Metro station, two blocks away from GADA, they were stopped by the police, who said they were not supposed to go any further. Her mother started talking to one of the police officers, asking him which metro station was open, which way to go etc.

Myrto stood waiting, across the street.
Then one man of the riot police squads (“MAT”, which literally stands for “Order Restore Unit”) went to her, yelling: “What are you doing here, bitch? Didn’t I tell you to get out of here?” Myrto was upset at the officer’s attitude and shouted back at him: “Believe it or not, I am waiting for my mother (pointing at her)!”
Seconds later, her mother witnessing the whole thing, four policemen attacked her. They kicked her on the back, knocking her down on the street. Myrto
weighs no more than 50 kilos (110 pounds). She started shouting and swearing. Her mother yelled in panic and pleaded with them to leave her daughter alone.
Some of them were trying to stop her from running to her daughter, while the others (the four policemen) had already twisted Myrto’s arm behind her back, holding her down, on the street. They repeatedly kicked her on the stomach, the legs, the ribs, swearing at her with vulgar and blatantly sexist words!
Myrto
tried to escape. She moved arms and legs fiercely and managed to free herself for a while. She almost lost her arm, in her struggle. But she was outnumbered by the police. At that point, the “men in blue” (wearing helmets etc) came to her and arrested her. Exhausted, battered but enraged, Myrto gave in… “but just don’t touch me! I’ll walk by myself”.
Then, one of them stood right behind her and made obscene gestures and moves implying a sex act.
On their way to GADA, the officers continued to verbally assault her (telling her things like “I’ll f... your …”) and once again kicked her on the back. Her mother was right behind them.
Every now and then Myrto asked them why she was arrested, but of course nobody answered.
When they reached the Police Headquarters, they prohibited her mother from going to the 11th floor with her daughter (and her escort). Then one of them, (of the “kind” species) finally let her in.


At the Police Headquarters

Things on the 11th floor of the Police premises were chaotic – they could use some order over there! Teenagers were pulled about and bossed around.
They put Myrto into a room (of course the mother was not let in); two couches were there: on one of them a young boy was seated – he was 17 years old, as she found out later. He was crying; actually while Myrto was there, this kid could not stop crying, obviously suffering a nervous breakdown. Two men were in the room, in their thirties, neat and smartly dressed. They asked Myrto to sit on one of the couches. The minute she did that, they yelled and swore at her; she had to get up and go and sit on the other couch. Myrto did not speak. When she stood up to do as she was told (and sit next to the boy who was crying) they kicked her on the back.
Myrto had to spend about 3.5 hours at the police headquarters. She was not assaulted again by the police while she was in that room – not physically, anyway. The officers systematically tried to break her morale, humiliating her, verbally and psychologically assaulting her. They would put their faces right in front of hers, almost touching her, calling her… things; they vividly described the “sexual intercourse” they would have with her. They pulled her hair repeatedly.
When she asked if they would be long, one of them told her to ask them again later, when all of them would be f…ing her.
They found her camera in her bag and started asking her with persistence if she was a journalist. When Myrto replied that she wasn’t, they swore at her.
She didn’t have her Greek Citizen ID with her, but she did carry her English university card, student card etc that could serve as identity “certificates”. Her mother had her ID with her.
The view of the English documents infuriated the officers even more and they started asking her what she was doing in Greece!
Myrto told them she came to her home city to spend Christmas with her mother, but they wouldn’t believe her – in fact they suspected her of being a foreign journalist, a “rat” etc...
They saw the photos she had taken in the last couple of days and said they would seize the memory card of the camera, but Myrto did not hand it in. The camera was a fairly sophisticated one -
Digital SLR – which made them suspect her and repeat their accusations and ironic comments: how come she had such a good camera, since she was not a journalist, how could she afford it, how much did it cost and so on...
Later on, the boy’s advocate entered the room. The officers held back right away and became more “polite”. The advocate started discussing the case of the 17-year old. Myrto overheard that the child claimed the police had put stones into his pockets, while they were taking him to the 11th floor... (he was still crying, all this time).
Then the advocate tried to approach Myrto, but she was stopped by the officers; they told her that the girl already had an advocate, who was outside the room.
The lawyer replied that the person waiting outside was the girl’s mother and that the mother herself had just appointed her to act as Myrto’s lawyer, right before she entered the room.
She told Myrto that she didn’t have to worry.
She took care of the paperwork and everything. As Myrto found out, the accusation she faced was “civil disobedience”.
They let her go. The 17-year-old had to stay there longer.
Then she went to the Hellenic Red Cross Hospital. It was full of young people, teenagers.
Myrto - who is not very fond of hospitals – left soon after that; she didn’t stay for the X-ray. All she wanted was to go home and rid of the filth. All she wanted was to wash the dirt off her, despite the pain she suffered.

Outside the room on the 11th floor of the “Headquarters” - the lawyer being present - an officer tried to be funny:
”Think of the bright side. We took you for 10 years younger; this is why we brought you here in the first place!”


Epilogue

How does Myrto feel right now? Unless one has experienced something like that they cannot possibly understand or imagine the feeling.
She told me she feels empty. As
if she were raped. What shocked her the most was herself. This is what she said. Last time she checked, she was restless, yet a pacifist; suddenly she saw herself want to do harm, to kill. She didn’t want to throw any stones or protest. She grew numb soon after the assault began. She didn’t talk, she didn’t answer. She just wanted to kill them with her own bare hands. Just that. And this is what scared her the most.
When all this was over, she questioned her dreams.

As she was walking with her mother, Myrto was brought back to order by the “Order Restore Units”.



2 σχόλια:

  1. My heart goes out to Myrto, both as a father myself and as a victim of Greek police violence. The coming days are going to be tough as she re-lives the violence she has suffered at the hands of these b@st@rds.

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  2. We are really sorry to hear about Myrto's ordeal.
    A blogger friend just e-mailed us a link to the radio station interview.
    Hope Myrto feels better now.

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