Today on March 31st the court convened for the trial against members of the C.C.F. accused to have planned an escape from prison. Due to an ongoing lawyers’ strike, the defense attorneys asked for the trial to temporarily discontinue. The lawyers even proceeded to the submission of relevant documents from the Bar Association certifying the strike and the lawyers’ need to take part in it.
The District Attorney Koutras also suggested to temporarily discontinue the trial on account of the aforementioned strike and the lawyers’ abstention. The judicial board left the courtroom to have a meeting and come to a decision. When the board returned, Justice A. Yfanti, announced that the entire board minus one judge, rejected the lawyers’ request and decided to continue the trial proceedings. Moreover, they gave an ultimatum to the defense lawyers, saying that ”If you do not exercise your duties you will be removed”.
All of the defense attorneys, among which are F. Ragkousis, Th. Mantas and S. Phytrakis referred to this as an unprecendeted act of arbitrariness, since Justice Yfanits, not only violates the decisions made by her own syndicalist association (the Bar) through a devaluation of its decisions, but essentially deprives the accused from the right to legal representation.
C. Tsakalos, member of the C.C.F., stated that this illustrates how the judges selected for political trials, in reality follow the orders of specific political circles in exchange for the advancement of their career and proof of their adherence is the blind submission to these circles which are controlled by former Justice Minister C. Athanasiou. He went on to say that in this specific trial there is an order for a fast-track process mainly serving political interests. He concluded by saying that the interventions made by C. Athanasiou to the special interrogator of appeals E. Nicolopoulos regarding the pre-trial detention of his family members was a retaliation for the continuing revolutionary actions of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.
Next, F. Ragkousis , Th. Mantas and S. Phytrakis and the other defense lawyers denounced these manipulations aiming to have them removed and to essentially continue the trial without the legal representatives of the accused. They stated that these remind of a different time in history and violate legal boundaries. They highlighted that it is unprecedented for a court judge to remove defense lawyers just beccause of their right to strike within the context of the mobilizations enacted by the Bar Association in Greece.
The District Attorney Koutras asked the judicial board to retract the decision and to provide the requested break so that there won’t be any accusations implying political manipulation as formerly stated by the defendants.
Following the meeting held by the judicial board, the presiding judge Yfanti blatantly announced the decision to continue the trial, remove the current attorneys and provide the defendants’ with new lawyers selected by her, in complete disregard for the stance of the D.A. and the request submitted by the defense attorneys.
Among protests that followed, the attending members of the C.C.F. along with Angeliki Spyropoulou submitted an appeal to replace the judge and stated it is now clear more than ever that this judge follows orders and serves specific political aims, evident in the way she managed the trial.
The presiding judge looked awkward and blamed V. Alexandris, president of the Bar Association, stating that this is his fault and she will have to go on with the trial with or without lawyers.
Among recriminations the court was adjourned for the 12th of April to examine the request for replacing the judge.
The fascist stance of the presiding judge whose ambition to be promoted from an appeals judge to president of appeals, illustrates that this trial has finished before it even began. The first step was the lawyers’ removal and their replacement with lawyers chosen by the judge. After the case of Justice Klapa who convicted Nicos Maziotis to a life sentence and 120 years, covert but also well-known political circles led by C. Athanasiou manipulate the political trials of revolutionary organizations with the aim to annihilate all political opponents.
The challenge faced by the fighting people in solidarity is whether to allow the fascist monologue of judges to become dominant or to actively subvert it…
SOLIDARITY WITH POLITICAL PRISONERS
AGAINST THE JUDICIAL COUP
Anarchists in solidarity