I am pleased to see there is serious debate about this abuse. It needs to be linked to the torture of my partner Necati Zontul and the 164 men women and children tortured in Crete in 2001, of Afghans in 2004, of Pakistanis in 2005, of Albanians in 2006, and of countless individuals, both Greek and foreign who have suffered at the hands of the Greek police and border authorities; but particularly, it must be linked to the beating of Dimitri Avgoustino last year. This was another instance when the Greek Government seemed to admit responsibility for torture, but it too was an illusion. Recently, following an appeal in 2006 to which my partner Necati Zontul was not invited, and following an attempt by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs to lie to the British Foreign Office about the date when his case finished, we have received a number of documents relating to the 2004 trial of Coastguardsmen and the initial witness statements taken in 2001. While important documents are missing, nevertheless, we now have a copy of the initial "translation" of Necati's testimony in 2001- it is a farcical document that is a gross mistranslation of what he told translator Liza Turkuman. It demonstrates the lengths the Greek Authorities will go to protect their own, and also shows how far they are prepared to pervert the course of justice. Despite repeated requests of the Prime minister and President, there has been no apology and no statement of non-recurrence. Indeed these recent events demonstrate very clearly how keenly the Greek Police continue to practice torture! There has been no offer of compensation. This rudeness and silence follows a guilty verdict that was upheld by the Appellate court in 2006 (even if we overlook the ridiculously light sentence that was finally given to Dandoulakis and Vardakis).
In the circumstances, we hold the Greek President personally responsible for the actions of men in uniform and we have repeatedly demanded an apology - we shall soon begin to demand his resignation!
As His Grace the Achbishop of Athens, Christodoulos, was approached by us in 2003 and responded on National Television that evening with the pronouncement that All Turks are Barbarians, and refused to condemn the implicit racism of the men who tortured Necati and 164 fellow victims, we believe it is time for Christodoulos to resign. He styles himself the moral heart of Greece and while he has continued to be silent in the face of so many instances of torture, and while he has continued to espouse extreme Nationalist views, the Police and Coastguardsmen may draw the opinion that what they have done is condoned by the State Religion. It is a pity he has recently been diagnosed with cancer, but maybe he should seize the opportunity of ill-health to resign his office and surrender his episcopal office to a man who might better judge the mood of the Greek people. I believe that the Greek people do not accept the barbarous behaviour of those who torture and abuse others. I believe they are shocked by recent news.
I am very grateful that Spiros has posted the summary above! Thanks. A video will shortly be posted on Youtube that was intended to promote our two films about Necati's torture- A TORTURE CARTOON and A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE, but now the Youtube postings will also feature a commentary on the recent abuse of Albanians, of an unnamed foreigner and of transexuals in Athens. I have no doubt other abuse will emerge in the next few weeks, as I also have no doubt the Government will nod like demented chickens at the need for justice and that nothing will ever be done- or if, as in the rare case of Necati, enough International pressure is applied, a show trial will attempt to whitewash the whole sorry saga.
I should add incidentally that the Greek Ombudsman, independently of either Necati or myself, has condemned the trials of the Coastguard as bringing into disrepute Greece's commitment to Human Rights. The Ombudsman points to serious discrepencies in the presentation of evidence between an initial EDE in 2001 and the final Appeal in 2006.