First Fire Cells Conspiracy trial ends with severe sentences 19 07 2011 athens….
On September 25, 2009, a warrant was issued for Karakatsani’s arrest on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy, and she was ultimately arrested on April 22, 2011. She denies being a member of the Fire Cells Conspiracy, but was nevertheless tried in the so-called “Halandri case” (for three specific Fire Cells Conspiracy attacks) and sentenced to 11 years in prison.
December 7: Hearing in front of tribunal of Athens Supreme Court to examine petitions to suspend sentences of Konstantina Karakatsani.
Statement of comrade Nina Karakatsani’s conserning the trial (of fist xalandri case ) in July 2012
First of all, I deny the charges. I do not feel the need to defend myself before anyone and even less before institutional justice, which I do not recognize as real. By the simple fact that I am here you will start asking me personal questions like: who do you know, who you do not know and with whom did you go on holiday, all things that irritate me because they are disproportionate to my imprisonment and to my detention over all this time, and I do not accept them. It would be different if you were to tell me that you knew something: we have this important element, so tell us why you did this, why did you did that, but according to the case file I feel that there are no facts to which I could refer.
And, from the moment that these do not exist I reverse the term, giving it the meaning of real incidents that I believe are the true causes of my persecution. If we make a flashback to 2009 regarding the Halandri case we find ourselves in a pre-election period when the regime of Neo Democratia was generally confused about the forthcoming elections, and it was in this confusion that this “anti-terrorist” operation was hurriedly set up. Back then, due to the government’s need to show an alleged presentation of what they had done, the operation was set up with the quick, spasmodic movements of the anti-terrorist force, resulting in our being here in this court today with no valid charges against any of us, and our being held in prison on no evidence whatsoever.
The general socio-political situation at that time was specific. The State was applying a repressive plan to the subversive parts of society. The Halandri case was the first in a series of attacks made according to this plan. Many attacks followed on stekia [anarchist places] and houses, a whole army of riot police were in Exarchia day and night, arresting even a fly that entered the area. Operations were set up, people were arrested, either actual members of revolutionary organizations, anarchist comrades or other people who were charged with cases that had been set up on their backs, with loose indictments. A number of these cases are blatant frameups, such as the case of comrade Aris Seirinidis, who was acquitted after spending a year in jail. This was a resounding plot, like a number of others recently.
These events occurred in a particular socio-political context within which our persecution and that of many other fighters is also placed, where in 2010 the number of political prisoners reached thirty at one point. This fact reveals the great need the State has to arm itself against future social explosions. By unleashing attacks on everything, strengthening its legal arsenal and changing the terrorist laws so that even anyone who participates in a dynamic demonstration can now be prosecuted with ‘’anti-terror’’ measures, because they dared to challenge and go out into the street.
I want to overthrow the existing system. Because only when power is defeated will we have real justice, and it will only be defeated when we all take a stand against it. That is my position: that of integrating myself in the broader anti-regime movement. This is a position that I have never denied, from the first instant of my prosecution until now. I think that the claimsof responsibility by some people involved in revolutionary organizations is a gesture that honours them especially, even although it could result in years in prison. I, for my part, have claimed what I am responsible for and this is nothing other than my own political identity. It was never a dilemma for me whether or not I would support this. It was something I had to do, as I would not offer myself up to the mechanisms of persecution from a position of neutrality. The reasons I want to disengage myself from this procedure are purely legal, i.e. based on the objective consistency of the alleged evidence and not creating a false profile that you would like me to promote. This is also the reason for my not bringing any documents concerning my studies. I do not intend to give my credentials to anyone.
Another thing I would add is that after being in prison for so long I have learned very well that the law only acknowledges one attitude in those designated as unlawful: that of the snitch, the one who whines, the one who victimizes herself. It’s amazing how many women I have seen released from prison after being arrested with infinite kilos of drugs, just because they “talked”, they gave people to the authorities… This is one of the examples demonstrating that the State even rewards with freedom snitches and attitudes of surrender, in contrast with those of decent people. Power envies dignity and constantly tries to eliminate it.
Coming back to the Halandri case, the only truth is that a pressure cooker was found in that house. From there on, the way that the police and the media handled this incident is a distortion of reality. Arrest warrants were issued for many people – but no one was ever invited to make a statement – with the unique excuse that some people had entered a house that was presented by the media as a den. The reasons are obvious, let’s not repeat them.
Halandri, as other cases, is part of the plan mentioned above, intended to intimidate the people that create the most dynamic part of this society and who will always play a key role in the socio-political scene with their active participation in wider struggles. The State always attempts to de-activate these people and not only them, the whole social network and any others who thought they could act subversively in any way. Because there is not just one way, there are many.
I think we can all understand, I urge you to think, how we have reached a situation today where a revolutionary organisation is tried with not one single member of it present in the court room. Apparently, the haste of the anti-terrorism force has led us to a court filled with irrelevant persons. So think a bit more about what the word ‘’terrorism’’ means exactly. I recognize that word, but I classify it as the meaning of the State and its criminal plans and nowhere else.
Now, about that arrest warrant and me not presenting myself to the authorities… So, one fine morning I heard on TV that I was wanted. Seeing the media’s lust and the development of a situation where people are going to prison with no evidence against them, disgusted by this scene, I left. I left for two reasons: first, so as not to be held in custody, because I was sure that this would happen; second, I could not accept the fact that they wanted me to become their prey, it is as though the State is telling you ‘’you’ve been chosen, I want to use you, I do not care, you are my opponent. I put you in prison and I will release you if I want to, if I don’t want to I will not’’. However, I could not tolerate it, that’s why I left, stating in my public letter that I would be present at the trial. Because is not easy to give up your life, your family, your everyday life from one day to the next.
I was arrested once in the past following one of the usual police pogroms in Exarchia houses, where they arrest people in order to enrich the police database. During this arrest they took my fingerprints, so I was available to fall into the hands of the police at any time and this has become clear with my present persecution and imprisonment. If it wasn’t for my fingerprints, I would now be one of the many of those who passed through the house in Halandri, but was never persecuted.
Now, regarding the process from the day I was arrested, I spent the first day in Balta’s interrogation office, which needed up to six hours to finally decide that on September 21 I was in the house in Halandri and that also on that day the [explosive] mechanism was being constructed. It was clear that even the head of surveillance, Hinopoulos, who testified as a prosecution witness, could not support the framed charges. Later the prosecutor Asprogerakas, agreeing to my pre-trial detention, issued a decree where he finally explained why my custody is not proportionate and listed the reasons why he believes so. So, according to the opinion of a man that has one opinion today and another tomorrow, I am here now; after 14 consecutive months of detention, after many meetings and appeals, after all this friction with the criminal mechanisms that determine freedom, and by extension life, as one or two votes of one or two people lead to many years’ imprisonment.
Terrorists are the three of you here that the law authorizes to decide the fate of the defendants in this court room. This is terrorism. I express my solidarity to the more than thirty political prisoners, a number that we haven’t seen in Greece since the Civil War.
It is within the framework of the era in which we are living, somewhere, that I place the nature of my persecution and imprisonment.
I do not have anything else to say.
prosecutor: Afterwards many things such as masks, goggles, gloves, and black materials were found? Did you ever see these?
NK: I did not see anything strange in this house at all, and because I remember the image of the house presented by the media, this thing, the huge mess where you walk in and everything is in an obvious place… I never came across such a situation there, and I visited the house frequently and remember how it looked. It is obvious that this whole thing was set up on purpose by the anti-terrorist force in order to transform the house into a ‘’lair’’.
Prosecuor: So these things were not in this house?
NK: I don’t know if the things were inside the house… but you certainly couldn’t see them.
prosecutor: Did you wear gloves when you went into the house at all?
NK: Do you have any idea of how many of my fingerprints were found in the house? I don’t usually wear gloves on a daily basis.
prosecutor: It is a fact though that a few things were found there?
NK: Look, in my view not everything in the world is a plot. From the moment that there are responsibility claims, how can I tell you that this is not true? From there to the way the case has evolved is another matter. It has evolved in a disproportionate way that’s far from reality.
prosecut.: Is it true that explosions are taking place?
NK: I do not dispute that actions take place, obviously there is an urban guerrilla.
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