For 10 months the revolutionary activist Aris Seirinidis is jailed in Athens. The charges against him have ben ridiculous from the start. And now even the trial, which has finally started, is becoming a farce.
The class struggle against the “EU-Junta” and their brutal plans for social cuts has reached a peak in May 2010. Against this backdrop Aris Seirinidis has been arrested in a random police control on May 3rd 2010. The police failed in framing him as a robber on a “Praktiker”-DIY superstore. Since then they thought of something new.
Police and judiciary are since then charging him of shooting at a bus of the infamous special police MAT in summer 2009. Although only one shot has been fired, Aris will be charged for 17 murder attempts. Even more absurd is the so called “evidence” against him: It is a surgical mask, which is supposed to have Aris DNA on it and which is supposed to have been found close to the crime scene. In face hundreds if not thousands of these masks can be found in Exarchia, the leftist disctrict of Athens, because demonstrators use them to protect themselves from massive tear gas usage by the police.
The witness, who says to have seen the delinquent throwing away the mask, has not been seen on the crime scene by anyone else. He gave the mask to the police not until one day later. The whole story is highly dubious and there is much speculation about manipulation by the police. The process is thus important for another reason, because it is first repression attempt of the state to convict someone solely with DNA as “evidence”.
It is obvious that the Greece state is trying to get rid of a well-known activist. That’s why Aris has been put into the infamous Koridallos-jail and he has been in jail for months. It is possible in Greece to put someone in jail for 18 months before charging him with anything. That Aris has been in jail for so long despite so little evidence shows how political the trial is. The public prosecution service added to their statement about the mask and the DNA that Aris is “in any case […] not hiding his subversive work”, but is instead publicly admitting to be a “revolutionary” and to be fighting “against state and capitalism”.
In his statement from inside jail Aris writes that in reality it is not about his DNA on the mask, but instead about “my political DNA”: The basis for the trial “is not the genetic material on a mask, found in Exarchia because of riots the day before, but my political genetic material, my presence on the side of the barricades, which defines my class position and my class consciousness – against capitalist rule and government-terrorism.”
The attempt to blame Aris Seirinidis for multiple attempted murder, is part of a broad wave of repression by the Greek state, through which they try to criminalize political resistance and class war against the attacks of the government, capital, EU and IWF against the Greek workers. Another example is Simos Seisidis, who has been shot without warning by the special police from behind. In jail he got no real medical help until they had to cut of his leg. The MAT is attacking demonstrations regularly.
The solidarity campaign for Aris has been overshadowed by the death of his father Kostas. Kostas Seirinidis was himself an activist of the radical left and played a central role in the campaign for his son; but because of stress and concern he had a heart attack and died. The funeral turned into a political demonstration, a speech by Aris has been transmitted from jail.
Despite these tragic events the solidarity campaign has grown bigger and bigger. Everywhere in the four-million-city of Athens posters demanding “Freedom for Aris Seirinidis!” can be seen. A few weeks ago 1.500 people joined a demonstration demanding the release of Aris, hundreds went to solidarity meetings. Countless leftist organizations, trade unions and persons declared their solidarity with Aris and demanded his release. Among others, Manolis Glezos will speak for Aris in his trail. Glezos is a legend in Greece; in May 1941, when Athens was occupied by the Nazis, he removed the swastika flag from the Acropolis in a nightly operation. He has been active in the left ever since.
On March 9th the trial against Aris finally started. On the second day of the trial March 17th, dealing with the core questions, the dubious witness was disappeard and could not be found by the police, or so they at least said. Aris lawyers could prove that the house, in which the witness supposedly lived, has been vacated since 1988! The witness is from Poland and does not have a proper place to live nor a legal job; it can be speculated how the police pressured him into testifying against Aris.
Considering that the main witness is gone (and the contradictory testimonies of the police officers) the trial against Aris has lost any kind of juridical respectability and should be stopped. But judiciary and police seem to feel obligated to somehow justify, why they jailed a person for ten months without any serious evidence and try to continue the trial come hell or high water. It cannot be ruled out, that they try to construct something else, to reach a verdict after all.
And end with this farce!
Freedom for Aris Seirinidis!
Through the Greece solidarity committee for Aris Seirinidis not only Manolis Glezos but numerous other organizations as well are demanding freedom for Aris. Among them are the trade unions of book trade workers, carrier workers and teachers as well as representatives of leftist parties like Giannis Voutsis (for Synaspismos), Aggelos Hagios (for Antarsia) and Theodoros Koutsoumbos (EEK). The student representatives of the Technical University Athens and Pedagogy University in Thessaloniki are supporting the campaign as well.
15 University professors have published their own solidarity statement in the big liberal daily newspaper Eleftherotypia. Among them are Aggelopoulos Venios (Professor at the Technical University Athens), Kastrinaki Rania (Lecturer at the Panteion University for social studies), Kouvelakis Stathis (Professor at King's College in London), Giorgos Maniatis (Professor at University of Athens), Basalexi Dina (from the CNRS Paris) and others.
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