Athens, Greece: 13th hearing – Provocative questions highlight the political nature of Tasos Theofilou’s trial

tasos

Sylvia and Giant reporting for OmniaTV from the 13th hearing of the appeals trial of imprisoned anarchist communist comrade Tasos Theofilou. Translated into English for Insurrection News by BlackCat, with thanks to ΚαρβουΝινα for their assistance. 

The 13th hearing started with the testimonies of the final two defence witnesses.

Aris Sirinidis stated that he wanted to come as a defence witness since he managed to identify similarities between his own trial and that of Tasos Theofilou. The witness had been charged with homicide attempt against police officers and the only evidence police held against him was a DNA sample collected from a mask. It was later proven that the mask was not even on the crime scene. Sirinidis says that he thinks the same method was followed by the police on this case as well, since there is a hat the police claims contains biological material identical to Theofilou.

Sirinidis: ” I was acquitted despite the fact that I was in jail for 15-16 months and this affected my family and I to a great extent”.

(Aris Sirinidis was brought to court facing charges for firing shots against a riot squad van in July 2009 in Exarcheia. At first the police attempted to connect him to an armed robbery, but that could not go through so they extended his detention without any evidence. Then, they just picked an unsolved case involving  gunshots against a police van in 2009 and charged Sirinidis as a suspect. The only incriminating evidence against him was a DNA sample on a surgical mask which was found on the ground a few streets away from the crime scene)

The witness stated emphatically: ”I undestand the need to restore justice when a human life was lost so unfairly, but not the need to use what happened to commit another injustice, to destroy  Tasos Theofilou”.

”It is very common for anarchists to face trials through schemes of the police (…). Those  same courts, with their rulings, have proven that the processes followed by the police are nothing but schemes. There were courts that went against those schemes and there are numerous examples, the ”robbers in black” scenario is actually one of them, where trumped up charges caused smear campaigns and prosecutions against innocent people that were ongoing for years. Then judges came along and said ”No these cases should have not even appeared in court”. ”

Sirinidis spoke on how mainstream media creates a climate that becomes crucial for the outcome of trials. He also focused on the effect of this climate on the victims’ families. The press and the television tend to portray arrested anarchists as guilty. This kind of press aims to create a climate of terror. This is how mainstream media treated Theofilou’s case and it is only natural for the family to be inclined to perceive the defendant as guilty despite the complete lack of evidence against him.

The final defence witness was a  journalist named Petros Giotis.

Mr. Giotis said that he knows of Theofilou through his writing and his testimony was comprised of a comparative analysis that examines whether Theofilou could be a member and identify with the CCF on an ideological level. The witness stressed that the defendant could have never be a member of the CCF.

Giotis: Theofilou is an anarchist-communist, something that is clear in his writing style and his blog posts, not only in what he authored following his arrest, but in things he wrote a long time before that. His political identity is not something he came up with following the charges he faced, it was not something he created to highlight his ideological difference from the CCF. Firstly, would anyone planning to commit a robbery make a blog in order to leave his traces behind? There are texts by Karl Marx and US communist and civil rights activist Angela Davis. Is there any chance these texts would be promoted by the CCF? It is not possible. There is an ideological, political and expressive cohesion in the texts he authored before and after the incident on Paros. For example, Theofilou claims being anarchist-communist and says: ”I am an anarchist communist, I love life as much as I love freedom, lets fight to demolish the prisons within which thousands of people remain  buried alive, lets fight for social liberation, lets join the struggle to liberate our class from the power of the capital”. On the other hand the CCF writes: ”We are hostile toward the hand that holds the whip as much as the back that passively endures each strike”. On one hand there is this notion of ”the liberation of our class” and on the other hand the CCF saying that the one who holds the whip and its victim are the same. ”We are anarcho-individualists and nihilists and we know that our struggle is that of a minority”. They differ like day and night. Theofilou speaks about class, social and labour rights. The CCF on the other hand  does not recognize anything, it does not recognize these as forms of struggle. Theofilou is still in court and is obliged to get into a process to defend himself. The CCF members say, we do not recognize any court, we do not defend ourselves within that system. The style of the CCF texts entail a hostility of expression, which is consistent with the ideological and political climate of the organization, their expression is not as refined. In contrast, Theofilou’s texts show a reflective style of writing and he avoids the use of adjectives which is a literary virtue. In contrast the CCF’s texts exhibit a strong use of adjectives. Theofilou’s style is literary, it is not attempting to become literary. There is also an ideological code among anarchists. If Theofilou was a member of the CCF he would have admitted to that just like all the members of the organization have done so far. ”

Mr Giotis, based on his experience as a journalist, referred to the known collaboration of mainstream media and the antiterrorism police:

”It has now become common practice to charge arrested anarchists as members of the CCF. The press publishes information leaked by the anti-terrorism police which the media proliferates in order to construct a climate of terrorism. When I read the articles on the Paros robbery all titles in the press revolved around ”A scent of terrorism on Paros”. Based on my experience, I could see that the perpetrators were not connected to the political movement the police were seeking to establish a connection to. The use of violence was never a trait of this political space. There are countless examples of anarchists’ arrests, where police officers shoot into a crowd and anarchists never fire back even when they have guns in order to avoid injuring citizens. When I found out about the anonymous tip I was sure that a suspect had been selected from a ”suspect pool” the anti-terrorism police maintains and the police were trying to blame the robbery on him. (…) The phone calls are a lie. This scenario is fake. It’s impossible not to have a call recognition system installed in the anti-terrorism police HQ, it is  impossible not to keep records but to build cases against suspects based on anonymous tips. It is incomprehensible and not believable at all that an entire anti-terrorism unit does not have a call recognition system, which is something we all have in our homes, which is something companies have when they tell you the call is recorded, and the anti-terrorism police are claiming they have no such equipment (…). ”

Moreover, he stressed a fact which had raised questions since the beginning of the trial: when Theofilou was arrested the police put a stop on investigating the case any further. No investigative articles appeared in the press either, regarding the robbery or other suspects.

Next was Tasos Theofilou’s plea which you will read in a future blog post.

When Tasos’ plea ended, the judges proceeded to questions:

Presiding Judge: You state that you are anarchist communist, what does that mean exactly in two words.

Theofilou: It is not easy to define using two words.

Presiding Judge: Yes, we heard a lot so far, but what does mean?

Theofilou: I am a member of the anarchist-antiauthoritarian milieu, I am committed to materializing the anarchist-communist vision. That means a society without authority.

Presiding Judge: Tell me about your arrest, where did they arrest you?

Theofilou: I was coming back from Lamia on the 18th of August and took the subway in order to get off at Gazi, and anyway wanted to spend some time in Theseio.

Presiding: Were you expecting someone?

Theofilou: I was not expecting, I was going to a meeting which was going to take place in about an hour.

Presiding Judge: What happened next?

Theofilou: Some people jumped through the bushes, it was impressive how well hidden they were.

Presiding Judge: Where there people around?

Theofilou: No, it was dead. It was August (…)

Presiding Judge: What happened next?

Theofilou: They came onto me. I was trying to make sense of what was going on and I was told ”make a move and we are going to kill you, we are going to shoot you right there” (points at his temple). I was handcuffed, put in a car. Marinopoulos (anti-terrorism cop) informed me that I had ruined his summer.

Presiding Judge: Did you have any idea of what was going on?

Theofilou: When I saw Marinopoulos…

Presiding Jusge: What did you think? Had you seen Marinopoulos before?

Theofilou: But yes, he kept appearing right in front of me.

Presiding Judge: So you had this sense that you were being followed?

Theofilou: Yes, yes (…)

Presiding Judge: Let me ask you something else, because your plea answered most of my questions. So many people saw you in August back then, why did you not say this right away?

Theofilou: I told you, not only I did not want to say anything, but I did not want them to find out in any way.

Presiding Judge: Why, because the charges you were facing were in connection to the CCF?

Theofilou: There was no basis for this count, I did not know which mechanism they had enabled exactly and what they were hoping to achieve (…)

Presiding Judge: Were you worried about the immigrants’ centre?

Theofilou: Yes, terror prevailed and you try to stay calm and think reasonably and wait until they finish with the charges and see what they want, do they want you, or someone else? To understand, to see what is happening, and when the time comes…

Presiding Judge: Are you saying they might have wanted to connect other people with the CCF?

Theofilou: Yes, of course.

After the presiding judge, the prosecutor followed with less hostility than was expected and her questions were restricted on his address, the reasons behind his move to Lamia and the findings in his home.

Prosecutor: We found a laminator in your house in Lamia. What were you using it for?

Theofilou: I worked as a graphic designer.

Prosecutor: A fingerless glove was found in your home in Lamia, was it yours?

Theofilou: If it was found there, then it’s mine.

Prosecutor: Why did you have it? People buy normal sized gloves and throw away the ones that have been ripped. Were you going to use it?

Theofilou: The glove? I might have. I don’t think it’s strange to have a fingerless glove. This kind of gloves exist. If you do not want to leave your finger prints then the entire finger must be covered not the other way around.

The prosecutor focused on Theofilou’s short story titled ”Murderers” and asked him about the plot. For some reason the prosecutor became obsessed with this short story which she mentioned often. We have already seen her tendency to criminalize books based on their titles and categorize them on whether they seem suspicious or not.

The hearing came to an end with questions posed from one of the appellate judges who attempted to find inconsistencies in Theofilou’s plea and literally asked him to apologize for his political ideology.

Appellate Judge: The witnesses who appeared in court said that you initially told them not to come forward as witnesses in order to avoid having the immigrants’ centre targeted. During your plea you mentioned that you did that because you did not want to inform the anti-terrorism police of your witnesses since you did not know how they were going to use that information. Which of the two is the truth?

(The audience murmured in surprise  ”But, it’s the same thing!”)

Theofilou: If you could clarify where exactly you identified an inconsistency, I would gladly answer. (…) Why are you degrading the public hearing process? Or is it that processes in interrogators’ offices, behind closed doors, have a special kind of value?

Following the prosecutor’s failed attempt to locate something that could be deemed practically punishable, the appellate judge proceeded to the examination of the political and social belief system held by Theofilou, by asking questions that brought to mind another era, which clearly prove the political dimension of this trial.

Appellate Judge: Do you believe in social liberation?

Theofilou: Yes.

Appellate Judge: How do you see this happen in real life?

Theofilou: In order for me to answer this question you first must admit that this trial is political.

Appellate Judge: You mentioned this in your plea during the trial of first instance as well as today, you mentioned that you believe in equality, in a kind of justice that is not controlled by media owners or financial and political bosses. How do you connect these in practice? How could your ideology be applied in practice?

Theofilou: Could you be more specific? Because I can see what you are trying to get out of this so you must be more specific and I will give you the answer that you want.

Appellate Judge: How could social liberation be achieved? How could your ideology be applied in order to have an equality and liberation that is financial, media-related, social and political?

Theofilou: In order to get to the point where we have the kind of justice that you represent and itself represents and serves the interests and the ideology of the capital, tons of blood and ink have been spilled. If you want to extract the answer that this subversion will happen violently, then yes that is how it will become possible.

Appellate Judge: Is this what you are saying now?

Theofilou: Yes, nevertheless, there is no connection between this and the charges I am facing. Also, it is crucial how this violence is exercised, where it is targeted and why, with what organization. Because all the counts I was charged with are not related to the violence that I believe is necessary.

Appellate Judge: At the beginning of your plea you said that political executions cannot be devalued. While in other instances, for you, taking away a life is as condemnable as it is in the penal code.  So, I get to the conclusion that you separate human life in two categories: that which is executable for political purposes and some other kind of taking a life?

Theofilou: No, what I said is that some cases can be judged on a moral basis and others can’t.

Appellate Judge: So, taking a life…

Theofilou: So when Mr. Panagoulis attempted to murder G. Papadopoulos (note:dictator), he cannot be called a murderer but a hero. Had he managed to kill him he would have been a hero twice.

Appellate Judge: So for your taking a life is…

Theofilou: absolutely unethical, when we talk about the political dimension of it though is something entirely different.

In the next hearing we are expecting a proposition by the prosecutor and possibly the oration of the civil suit counsel.

The 14th hearing was on the 15th of May.

This entry was posted in Anarchist Communist Prisoners, Anarchist Prisoners, Athens, Greece, Political Prisoners, Repression, Tasos Theofilou. Bookmark the permalink.