Torture lawsuits in Greece

This video says about itself:

Greece urged to stop mass round-up of ‘illegal immigrants’

Aug 8, 2012

Ironically named after the God of hospitality, Greek police Operation Zeus Xenios, seems very much the opposite. Here in Athens being dark-skinned is attracting the police more so now than ever before, as officers have been given a mandate to stop and take those they suspect to be illegal immigrants in for questioning. Around 6,000 people were detained last weekend, 1,500 of those who didn’t have formal papers were arrested. Greek police are all set for a large-scale drive to deport them back to the Asian and African countries they originally came from.

These daily sweeps have provoked the organisation Human Rights Watch to speak out. It has urged the country’s authorities to stop the practice, saying that the actions – based on ‘little more than people’s physical appearance’ — ‘violate international standards’. The organisation says people must not be sent back to a country they fled because of fear of torture or persecution.

The visible foreigners are scapegoats in a country that’s seeing its worst economic times since World War 2. Seeking a new life in the country, left with little choice but to live in sometimes squalid conditions. Being accused of being criminals and a drain on the state. Those sentiments have seeped into the psyche of the Greek people and translated into parliamentary seats for far-right political parties, like Golden Dawn for the first time ever. Whether or not the police or the government bow to human rights pressure over the rounding up of suspected immigrants remains to be seen. But for now there’s doesn’t seem to be any stopping them.

From I Can’t Relax in Greece blog:

Torture lawsuits

Posted on 22/07/2013 by icantrelaxingreece

‘Not a single person has filed a lawsuit against the police’ the minister claimed from London with regards to the ‘swept’ migrants of operation ‘Xenios Zeus’. However, two of them who had been transferred from detention in Amygdaleza to the airport for deportation filed yesterday a ‘heroic’ lawsuit via their lawyers.

These people, who have names and families, ventured to denounce their torturers. Greek policemen, who are certain to face some internal investigation for the ‘eyes’ of the people, reached the point, besides fierce beatings, of delivering electro-shock torture on inmates’ genitals, and of abusing them on the basis of their religion, their country of origin, while one of them demanded from them oral sex. Racist, intolerant and sexist ‘excesses of duty’ in a police force which has nothing to do, according always to the minister, with the methods known from the nazi monstrosities.

The lawsuit may some day go to court with or without the witnesses. This is precisely what was anticipated for these cases by the anti racist law: the protection of victims-witnesses who are now left unprotected by the Hellenic democracy of certain sheriffs who violate the Constitution and the laws.

Article translated from ‘Efimerida ton Sintakton’ newspaper, 11 July 2013. Available online at:

6 thoughts on “Torture lawsuits in Greece

  1. NOTE: Manos Hadjidakis was a politically Rightist [though anti-military junta dictatorship] Greek composer. However, that does not help him now against censorship of one of his songs, because it did not describe all Muslims as evil; like the Greek Golden Dawn nazis want.


    Friday, 31 May 2013

    Complaint of censorship of a Hadjidakis song in the classroom goes viral, sparking controversy

    Source: Manos Hadjidakis’s official site

    By @Inflammatory_ and @IrateGreek

    The latest case of censorship in Greece found an unlikely target in a song by famous Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis.

    Deputy Minister of Education Theodoros Papatheodorou ordered last night an ex officio investigation into claims by a primary school music teacher in Thessaloniki that the principal of her school forbade her from teaching Hadjidakis’s song Kemal to her 5th-grade class. This was followed today by a question in parliament by New Democracy MP Giannis Michelakis, who called upon the Ministry of Education to take an official position on the matter and condemned the school principal in the harshest of terms, calling the incident “a monument of ignorance, fanaticism and stupidity.”

    Update 19:35 EEST: The preliminary investigation of the Ministry of Education appears to show that the teacher’s claim is correct. The principal has been asked to give a written explanation for her reaction.

    The music teacher posted on 29 May the following complaint on Facebook, that went viral after it was re-posted by a friend:

    A parent visited my school to complain to the principal that I taught Hadjidakis’s song”Kemal” to 5th-graders in the music lesson and accused me of Islamist propaganda. How did the principal respond to that? She came into my class and took away from the students the photocopies I’d already handed them. She then called me to her office and when she finished expressing her disappointment with my work, she went through the reasons why teaching kids love for the homeland and boosting their national morale should be our only concern in primary school. In case something similar has happened to you (I am referring to fellow teachers) I would like you to get in touch with me, as I reckon that things have gone out of hand and we need to do something about it, even just by going public. It is unacceptable that teachers’ work is subjected of censorship, especially that of arts teachers, and that we see these incidents of bigotry that are freezing our blood come into our schools with the blessing of our principals and their superiors.

    The teacher has not filed an official complaint at this point, and, when contacted by radiobubble, said that she would seek to resolve the issue under standard procedures of the education administration. It is unclear whether other, similar incidents have occurred in the school in the past. It must be noted that under legislation recently pushed through by the government, the teacher may be put on furlough merely for having been the subject of disciplinary action.

    Hadjidakis is considered as one of the greatest modern Greek composers, with tens of international awards and distinctions, among them the Oscar – which he rejected – for his score of Jules Dassin’s movie Never On Sunday, which includes the legendary song The Children of Piraeus. His song Kemal talks of the fairy tale of an Oriental prince who fought for justice only to be assassinated by his oppressors.

    The composer’s popularity in Greece never waned after his death in 1994. In 2009, radiobubble organized an internet tribute to Manos Hadjidakis, which drew participation from more than 100 blogs. Today, in reaction to this latest incident of censorship, you will find texts, photographs and songs of the composer under the hashtag #Hadjidakis on Twitter, with the slogan “we’ll never get used to it.”

    You can listen to the song Kemal below and read a translation of the lyrics (from the blog Anatomy of Melancholy):


  2. Pingback: Torture lawsuits in Greece | Ώρα Κοινής Ανησυχίας

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