Archive | June 2013

Anarchist Kostas Sakkas on hunger strike since 4th of June 2013

Via: Occupied London

Over the past few days, numerous acts of solidarity took place throughout Greece in solidarity with imprisoned anarchist Kostas Sakkas, who is on hunger strike since the 4th of June 2013 fighting for his immediate release. On the 11th of June, a treating physician reported that clinically he has profound weakness, fatigue after minimal exertion (e.g. walking from his cell to the prisons infirmary), discomfort, mild dyspnea, dizziness, headache, abdominal pain, and he has lost 3.5kg of weight.

In the meantime, fellow prisoners have declared their unreserved solidarity with the hunger striker. Since the 4th of June, four comrades that are held in the dungeon of Koridallos women’s prison wing, Kostas Gournas (Revolutionary Struggle member), Christoforos Kortesis, Vaggelis Stathopoulos, as well as Dimitris Koufontinas (17 November member), have refused prison meals.

On the 5th of June, in the session of the 3rd CCF trial at Koridallos women’s prison court, co-accused comrades left the courtroom supporting the decision of Kostas Sakkas to go on hunger strike.

Since the 6th of June, the comrades from Larissa prison second wing Rami Syrianos and Spyros Stratoulis have abstained from prison food to support Kostas Sakkas in his struggle, stating also their solidarity with CCF member Gerasimos Tsakalos, who received an extension of his pretrial detention.

On the 7th of June, anarcho-communists Tasos Theofilou (Domokos prison) and Polykarpos Georgiadis (Corfu prison) published a joint statement for their comrade Kostas Sakkas, saying ‘we will meet again soon, at the battlefields of social/class war.’

On the 11th of June, a total of 290 women and men incarcerated in Larissa, Patras, Corfu, the first wing of Koridallos, Alikarnassos, and Eleonas–Thebes released an open letter in defense of Kostas Sakkas and the destruction of every prison.

On the 13th of June, Kostas Sakkas was brought to the Athens appeals court (on Loukareos street), where a council of appellate judges examined his objection against his prolonged pretrial incarceration for another 6 months. (Their decision is yet to be announced.) In the same morning, three other prisoners were brought before a judicial council in the same court, namely anarchists Fivos Harisis, Argyris Ntalios and Dimitris Politis. During their stay at the appeals court, cops attacked Fivos Harisis throwing him to the ground, kicking him repeatedly, and handcuffing him even in the transfer van. When all of the prisoners, including the hunger striker, were taken back to Koridallos an intense clash broke out with cops and jailers at the prison, in response to the earlier police assault at one of them. The comrades turned the entrance unit into a battlefield for a while (fire extinguishers, drawers with documents and chairs were thrown in the air, and windows were smashed), proving in practice that no attack of the dogs of Power will be left unanswered.

Strength to all prisoners in struggle! Immediate release of hunger striker Kostas Sakkas!

Hunger strike declaration by Kostas Sakkas, Koridallos prison, May 29th, 2013:

On the 4th of December 2010 I was captured along with the comrade Alexandros Mitroussias in the district of Nea Smyrni, Athens, while I was leaving a rented warehouse where arms were being stored.

Since the beginning, I have admitted my connection with this place as well as the weapons found there. I have stated, since the first moment, that I am an anarchist and that my presence in this specific place was related to my political identity and the choices I make as a consequence of this.

On the 7th of December 2010 they brought me before the head investigator and I got in pretrial detention on charges of participation in an unknown terrorist organization as well as aggravated possession of weapons.

On the 12th of April 2011, when I had already been in the prison of Nafplion for more than four months, I was called upon again by the investigators Baltas and Mokkas, and without any new evidence, nor even any new developments on the investigation, I was remanded for participating in the R.O. CCF. It was obvious that this was because the principal investigators realized that a case against an unknown organization that hasn’t any registered actions, doesn’t have any bombs, nor communiqués, that has not used guns, an organization without a name, couldn’t stand up in a courtroom.

I have clarified in the past —as did the R.O. CCF for their part— that I’m not a member of this organization. I didn’t do this to avoid the vengeful, punitive odyssey that the bourgeois justice reserves for all those accused of being members of that organization, but simply because that’s how it is. I ought to set the history straight; not only for me but also for the R.O. CCF.

The initial charge of participation in an unknown terrorist organization attributed both to me and my two comrades (Alexandros Mitroussias, Giorgos Karagiannidis) and the rest of the people arrested in the same operation —although they had nothing to do with it— showed up at a time that was political expedient for the DAEEV anti-terrorist force (the so-called Special Violent Crime Squad of the Greek police), on account of the ex-minister of public order named Christos Papoutsis, who desired —like all his counterparts— to dismantle, at all costs, a terrorist organization during his mandate. It is known that this minister directly supervised the operation, and even evaluated the information that the anti-terrorist force had, and finally gave the order to make arrests. Anyone who watched the mass media during that time remembers the scenarios and evaluations of various journalistic parrots about which organization we belonged to, what we intended to do, etc., obviously being fed by the DAEEV, until the results of the ballistic tests made them shut up… Later, Mr Papoutsis, in an attempt to apologize for the fiasco, gave an interview to a well known magazine stating that the ‘anti-terrorist force has tricked him’ (!).

On the 6th of April 2012, still in jail awaiting trial and reaching the limit of 18 months (the maximum pretrial incarceration period), I was out again in pretrial detention for committing 160 incendiary and bombing actions claimed by the organization CCF. It’s worth comment that in this particular case file there is neither any evidence against me —they didn’t even bother to frame me this time— nor any reference to my person except in the execution of the indictment. It’s a case file that could be served, without exaggeration, to anyone, according to the logic of the intransigent investigators Baltas and Mokkas. The prosecutory purposes of this are evidenced by the fact that the principal investigators had their hands on this specific file from the very first moment of my arrest, and were obligated —that is according to the law— to give it to me along with the first accusatory file. To put it simply: these gentlemen detained me on charges of participation in the same organization twice, consecutively (!).

Today, after being jailed for two and a half years, for simple weapons possession (to clarify: aggravated possession of weapons means that the weapons were intended either for trade or for equipping a terrorist organization, something which is neither evident, nor something I have admitted to), the primary institutional defenders of justice and law, who hold me for breaking it, decided to ignore even their own Constitution —which defines maximum time of 12 months for each subsequent to the first pretrial detention— since that is not enough for their political needs. Therefore, they decided to hold me hostage for six more months.

In fact, they intend this prolonged and excessive captivity to offset their makeshift, lazy accusations. Whatever they may do it is not enough to prevent the ‘deflation’ of the charges in any courtroom, despite the special regime that characterizes the terror-courts (in every way). Anyone who has ever set foot in them even for a while knows it very well.

Their tactics and vengeful intentions are clear by now. Yes, it’s true; the State avenges its political opponents; avenges but never acknowledges them. It never has, as a matter of fact. In the past they were treated as foreign agents and traitors, and now as terrorists and enemy of the society.

The fact is that, due to the domestic consequences of the global capitalist crisis, the political system is going through what is both the most critical and the most unstable period since the dictatorship. It is also a fact that repression, and the generally authoritarian attitude of the State, is the ‘last card’ in its hand, the last thing it can do to ensure a subordinated social peace and prevent a generalized reaction from being expressed in organized and substantial insurrectionary forms.

The finance minister himself has confessed that this is the first time that a government is asked to implement such extreme measures in peacetime. The laws have always reflected the will of the powerful, but today not even these laws are enough for the political representatives of the system in the face of what they need to implement so as to loyally serve the establishment.

Because of my political view and position, that the road to individual and collective freedom is full of struggle and resistance, I decided on Tuesday 4/6 to go on hunger strike; the date when, according to the current laws, the maximum time limit of my pretrial custody is expired. I would like to clarify that, for me, the choice to go on hunger strike is not a gesture of despair, but a choice to continue the fight, a fight that my comrades and I have made since the first moment of our captivity; a resistance to the unprecedented and vindictive treatment of the judicial mechanisms, which decided in our case to take a break from their cash collection duties to defend society from its supposed enemies and the laws from the outlaws. They are the same mechanisms, and the same persons behind them, who are actual perpetrators of the legitimacy of forced return to work for strikers; the same who are primary responsible for the thousands of property auctions and the homeless, for the abolition of labour demands, for the unemployed, for the abolition of social benefits, for the thousands living below the poverty line, for hundreds of suicides every year by those who, unable to cope decently, put an end to their lives; they are actual perpetrators of the legitimacy of declaring people illegal and piling them up in camps; responsible of classifying tortures and beatings at police stations, accidental gun discharges, the silencing of anti-regime media as legitimate…

They are responsible for creating a cemetery society in the name of law, and when it’s necessary, for establishing a cemetery society outside the law… Steeped in hypocrisy and nastiness, despicable to both the devotees of bourgeois justice and its detractors and ideological enemies.

“Slowly dies who does not risk certainty for the uncertainty to chase a dream, those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives, … Who does not find grace in himself, dies slowly, … Let’s try and avoid death in small doses, reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.”
—Pablo Neruda

Kostas Sakkas, first wing in Koridallos prison

GREECE Athens, 17th Anti Racist Festival 28-29-30 June 2013

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Mazikeen at the 17th Anti Racist/Anti Fascist Festival

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The search for a mosque in Athens

By Yorgos Karahalis

Some say that to come in contact with “God” is a spiritual matter that has nothing to do with the particular spot or place where such contact takes place. Well, if it were that simple then there would be no need to build churches or mosques.

In the Greek capital Athens, where almost half the country’s 11 million people live, there is a 500,000-strong Muslim community, mostly immigrants from Asia, Africa and eastern Europe. Many of those are faithful and want to express their faith by praying in an appropriate place. Well, there is no such place – there isn’t a single “official” mosque in the wider area of the Greek capital.

Instead, they have to rent flats, basements, old garages and all kinds of warehouses and transform them into makeshift mosques to cover their need for a place to hold religious ceremonies. There are lots of these types of “mosques” around town but they’re not easy to spot and whenever I arrived at one of those addresses I had to double-check it was correct as there was no way to identify these flats or warehouses from the outside. I could not say that they’re miserable places but I could better describe them as hidden places, places that do not want to get noticed. During most of my visits people have been very welcoming and very keen to express their concerns about the lack of a recognizable place of worship as well as their fears about the threats they get from some locals.

“Soon there won’t be a single Muslim in Athens,” joked Egyptian Rabab Hasan when I asked her to comment on the lack of a mosque in Athens, obviously pointing to the rise of extreme-right ideas, mostly expressed by the Golden Dawn party, which won 18 seats in the 300-seat Greek parliament in the second of two thrilling elections last year.

The Greek government recently cleared the funds needed to build a mosque in Athens, even though it will not have a minaret. They have also finally found the place to erect it – in an old naval base, next to a church. But the story of the construction of a mosque in Athens dates back decades and is full of postponements and many changes of location.

Greece is a country where the vast majority of people are Orthodox Christian and a country that has lived under Turkish Ottoman rule for approximately four centuries. Today it’s a European Union country bordering the “successor” of the Ottoman empire, Turkey. But Turkey is still considered by many Greeks as its major arch-rival in the region. For many locals, Muslims represent a Turkish presence in Greece so it’s not an easy reality for them to accept that a mosque will be built in the capital. The financial crisis, when human relations become more polarized, has only made things worse.

“Do you think that one mosque which can host about 400 people will be enough to serve the thousands of Muslims living in Athens? Of course not. But it would be a strong message to the rest of the world,” says President of the Pakistani community in Athens, Javed Aslam, during a chat I had with him.

Places of worship around the world are part of the local culture and an indication of the degree to which society allows its members to express their religious beliefs equally. So, let’s all wait to see what is going to happen this time and if the mosque saga is coming to an end.

The Deadliest US Soldier on record with 2.746 kills

Via New York Post

gbuiso@nypost.com

With 2,746 confirmed kills, Sgt. 1st Class Dillard Johnson is the deadliest American soldier on record — and maybe the most humble.

As a commander of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle nicknamed “Carnivore,” Johnson, 48, helped lead the ground assault during Operation Iraqi Freedom, overwhelming the enemy with a relentless show of military might that left a trail of dead in his wake.

Johnson was obliged to report confirmed kills to his superiors, cataloging the dead in a green journal that revealed the astonishing tally — which only began to come light as he and co-writer James Tarr were researching his exploits for his memoir, also titled “Carnivore.”

There may have been a deadlier soldier in an earlier war, but since detailed records have been kept, Johnson tops the list.

It’s a mantle he is reluctant to embrace.

“It’s sort of sad to say, but they’re just another pencil mark,” Johnson told The Post, referring to his journal notations. “I didn’t think of the numbers . . . That’s not a boast I would make.”

Johnson, 48, grew up in Island, Ky., hanging out in strip mines and hunting deer with his daddy’s gun. His first kill came at the tender age of 13, when he nailed a six-point buck with a .22-caliber rifle.

In high school, he joined the ROTC, and in 1986, he joined the Army, fulfilling a childhood dream spawned from the pages of comic books.

“When I was growing up, everyone wanted to be an astronaut, a cowboy, or a firefighter. I wanted to be Sgt. Rock,” he said, referring to DC Comics’ gritty WWII hero.

In Iraq, he joined Charlie Troop, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, going on to hunt bigger game — wiping out a truckload of Iraqis with six high-explosive rounds in March 2003 at the battle of As Samawah, his first KIAs.

He counted the dead by tallying rifles — and human heads — among the mangled or charred wreckage left behind by the Carnivore.

In his second tour, in 2005, he took up sniping, logging 121 kills, his longest from 821 yards, a skill that was honed hunting in Kentucky. His total is second only to the late Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL who had 160 kills.

“I had already had the talent of being able to shoot due to the fact that I grew up with a rifle that wasn’t zeroed to me,” he said, recalling his early use of a gun calibrated for his father.

After two tours in the second Iraqi war, he took home 37 medals, including a Silver Star and four Purple Hearts. He gives all the credit to his troop — call sign “Crazy Horse” — whose lineage dates back to Gen. George Custer. “There’s not another brotherhood like it,” he said.

His past never haunts him.

“I killed when I needed to . . . I was brutal when I needed to be, but I was compassionate when I needed to be,” he said. “In my mind, I never killed anyone who wasn’t trying to kill me or trying to do harm.”

He has a bullet permanently lodged in his leg, and the battlefield left him with a new enemy to fight — Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He believes he developed the cancer from inhaling particles from armor-piercing depleted uranium (DU) shells — which turn radioactive when superheated upon firing — but he has no regrets.

“I’m not upset that the DU gave me cancer. If I hadn’t had the DU rounds, there were vehicles that I wouldn’t have been able to destroy that would have killed me,” he said.

The cancer was in remission but returned in January. He will undergo chemotherapy at the end of the summer.

These days, Johnson lives in Daytona Beach, Fla., is married with four kids and works as a consultant for an ammunition company. He doesn’t display his accolades or wartime souvenirs — not even the Iraq flag he took off Saddam Hussein’s limousine.

And he’s given up hunting, preferring to surf with his 13-year-old son.

In his memoir, which goes on sale Tuesday, he quotes Hemingway: “Those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.”

Saudi Arabia: Activists Convicted for Answering Call for Help

Via HumanRightsWatch

A Saudi court convicted two Saudi women’s rights activists on June 15, 2013, for inciting a woman against her husband. Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Oyouni were each sentenced to 10 months in prison and two-year travel bans.

Al-Huwaider, a member of the Human Rights Watch Middle East advisory committee, told Human Rights Watch that she believes authorities pursued this case to punish her for unrelated women’s rights activism over the last 10 years. Al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni said they intend to appeal their convictions.

“Saudi authorities are using the courts to send a message that they won’t tolerate any attempt to alleviate the dismal status of women’s rights in the kingdom,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Saudi authorities should immediately drop this case and stop harassing Saudi women who call for reform.”

Al-Huwaider told Human Rights Watch that her and al-Oyouni’s involvement with the Canadian woman began in 2009, when she received messages from Johanne Durocher, the woman’s mother, who is in Canada, pleading for activists to help her daughter, Natalie Morin. Morin is married to a Saudi citizen, Sa’eed al-Shahrani, and lives with him and their three children in the Eastern Province city of Dammam.

Durocher told them that al-Shahrani, a former police officer, was abusing Morin by locking her in their house and denying her adequate food and water. Durocher had helped draw international media attention to the case in 2009 by lobbying Canadian government officials to intervene and organizing protests over the case in Canada.

Al-Huwaider said that she and al-Oyouni organized several trips by other activists to deliver food and supplies to the woman, but that they did not attempt to visit Morin until the afternoon of June 6, 2011, when they received distressed messages from Morin herself. The messages said that Morin’s husband had left for a week-long visit to see relatives in another town and that her supplies of food and water were running out. When al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni approached the house to offer assistance they were confronted by police who were apparently waiting for them to arrive. The officers immediately arrested them and took them to a Damman police station for questioning.

The police told al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni that they believed they had gone to Morin’s home to help her and her three children, all Canadian citizens, to escape to Canada.

Police released al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni after midnight on June 7, after they signed a statement pledging to cease all involvement with the case and to allow the government-affiliated Human Rights Commission and Canadian Embassy to investigate. The Damman branch of the Human Righs Commission declined to intervene, stating that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that al-Shahrani was mistreating Morin and their children. Canadian government officials have maintained since 2009 that this case is a private matter that must be resolved by Saudi authorities.

Morin remains in Saudi Arabia with her husband and children, but describes herself as a “hostage” and complains of neglect. On her personal blog she regularly pleads for the Canadian government to help get passports for her children so that they can leave the country. On June 17 she wrote a blog entry condemning the convictions of al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni, stating there is no evidence for the charges against them.

Al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni assumed that authorities would not pursue charges against them, but in July 2012, more than a year later, authorities called them in for questioning and informed them that they would refer the case to court.

Al-Huwaider said that during her 2012 questioning sessions investigators did not ask her about Morin’s case but rather about her involvement with the Women2Drive campaign and her relationship with Manal al-Sharif, who defied Saudi law and gained international media attention in May 2011 by driving a car. Al-Huwaider was in the car with al-Sharif and filmed the YouTube video of the incident that was widely viewed. Al-Huwaider said that Saudi authorities also asked her about a 2006 women’s rights protest she organized on the King Fahd causeway, which connects Saudi Arabia with Bahrain, as well as her 2009 attempt to cross to Bahrain without the approval of a male guardian.

Al-Huwaider told Human Rights Watch that during her trial, which began in late 2012, the presiding judge denied her and al-Oyouni the right to adequately defend themselves by refusing to allow Morin to testify. The judge also declined to allow a Canadian Embassy official to attend the second trial session, in December.

In Saudi Arabia, which has no written penal code, judges and prosecutors have wide latitude to arbitrarily define certain acts as criminal behavior and then argue that defendants committed these “crimes.” The charge against al-Huwaider and al-Oyouni is “inciting a woman against her husband.”

Saudi Arabia’s “guardianship system” and strict gender segregation rules severely limit women’s ability to take part in public life. Under this discriminatory system, girls and women are forbidden from traveling, conducting official business, or undergoing certain medical procedures without permission from their male guardians. All women remain banned from driving in Saudi Arabia.

Under the United Nations General Assembly’s Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Resolution A/RES/53/144 of 1998, Saudi Arabia has the responsibility to “conduct prompt and impartial investigations of alleged violations of human rights” and to protect human rights defenders from “threats, retaliation, adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action” as a result of their rights advocacy.

“Rather than persecute two human rights defenders for trying to help a woman in distress, Saudi Arabia should investigate Morin’s allegations and uphold women’s right to freedom of movement,” Stork said.

GREECE, Athens, June 2013 ERT Occupation

Mazikeen at ERT Occupation

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Migrants targeted by ‘abusive’ police in Athens

Via EnetEnglish

Human Rights Watch has published a 51-page report entitled ‘Unwelcome Guests: Greek Police Abuses of Migrants in Athens’, documenting alleged abusive treatment of migrants in Athens

Athens police are conducting abusive stops and searches and have detained tens of thousands of people in a crackdown on irregular migration, Human Rights Watch said in a review released today.

The following is a report distributed by the humanitarian group:

The 51-page document, “Unwelcome Guests: Greek Police Abuses of Migrants in Athens,” documents frequent stops of people who appear to be foreigners, unjustified searches of their belongings, insults, and, in some cases, physical abuse. Many are detained for hours in police stations pending verification of their legal status.

“It’s cruelly ironic that the authorities named the sweeps Xenios Zeus, after the ancient Greek god of hospitality,” said Eva Cossé, a Greece specialist at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “In fact, Operation Xenios Zeus is anything but hospitable to migrants and asylum seekers, who are regularly stopped, searched, and detained just because of the way they look.”

Between August 2012, when Operation Xenios Zeus began, and February 2013, the police forcibly took almost 85,000 foreigners to police stations to verify their immigration status. No more than 6 percent were found to be in Greece unlawfully, suggesting the police are casting an extraordinarily wide net.

The report draws on dozens of interviews with people who have been subjected to at least one stop since Operation Xenios Zeus began. Many of those interviewed had a legal right to be in Greece at the time of the stops because they are asylum seekers, legal foreign residents, or Greeks of foreign origin.

Many said they felt they were stopped because of their physical characteristics and gave disturbing accounts of clear targeting on the basis of race or ethnicity.

Tupac, a 19-year-old Guinean asylum seeker, for example, said that in early February police officers forced him and other black and Asian passengers out of a bus in central Athens: “[P]olice officers came to the door and said ‘All blacks out, all blacks out.’”

While stops can involve a relatively quick check of identity papers, Human Rights Watch found that migrants and asylum seekers with a legal right to be in Greece are regularly subjected to lengthy procedures, both on the street and at police stations, that amount to unjustified deprivation of liberty. Many people are held by police officers in the street, confined in police buses, and detained in police stations and the Aliens Police Division for hours without any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing, Human Rights Watch said.

Ali, a 33-year-old registered Afghan asylum seeker, was stopped and detained by police officers in central Athens along with his 12-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. “The kids said [to the police], ‘He is our father, he has a pink card [asylum seeker’s card], why did you catch him?’ They [the police] said that, ‘We will take him to Allodapon [police station], we will do the control [of the identity documents] and we will release him.’”

The police ordered Ali to send his distraught children home on their own, even though they live in Piraeus, outside Athens. But he chose to keep them with him throughout the procedure, though they were kept separately from him and about 45 other people the police had rounded up. Ali was released five hours later, only after a Greek nongovernmental organization intervened on his behalf.

Under Greek law, police have broad powers to stop people and require them to provide proof of their identity without any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. Identity checks for immigration control, such as those conducted on a massive scale during the ongoing Operation Xenios Zeus, are not prescribed explicitly in law.

The lack of training in immigration and asylum issues, and of specific guidance for officers participating in the operation, leaves too much room for abuse, Human Rights Watch said.

The Greek authorities told Human Rights Watch that bringing foreigners to the police station is necessary to identify forged documents and to verify photocopies of documents. However, authorities have taken no steps to put in place the training and technical means to enable police to verify the documents on the street.

“Investing so many resources just to catch the wrong people and release them afterward is a huge waste,” Cossé said. “If the authorities are serious about improving security on the streets of Athens and controlling irregular immigration, they should focus on real criminals and base police operations on evidence and intelligence, not stereotypes.”

Police mistreatment of migrants and asylum seekers is a longstanding, serious problem in Greece, as documented by Human Rights Watch and others. Almost everyone interviewed complained of rude, insulting, and threatening behavior, and four people described physical abuse.

Body pat-downs and bag searches during immigration stops also appear to be routine, even in the absence of any reasonable suspicion that the individual is carrying unlawful or dangerous objects.

Since the early 2000s, Greece has become the major gateway into the European Union for undocumented migrants and asylum seekers from Asia and Africa. Years of mismanaged migration and asylum policies and, more recently, the deep economic crisis, have changed the demographics of the capital city. The center of Athens, in particular, has a large population of foreigners living in extreme poverty, occupying abandoned buildings, town squares, and parks. Concerns about rising crime and urban degradation have become a dominant feature of everyday conversations as well as political discourse.

Greece has a right to control irregular immigration and a duty to improve security on the streets for everyone. However, the breadth and intensity of immigration sweeps in the context of Operation Xenios Zeus raise serious concerns about whether the means to achieve those legitimate aims are necessary and proportionate, Human Rights Watch said.

International and Greek law prohibit discrimination, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, unjustified interference with the right to privacy, and violations of dignity and the right to physical integrity. International and national standards also require respectful treatment by the police.

The Greek government should revise its general stop and search powers, including for Operation Xenios Zeus, Human Rights Watch said. The government should adopt legal and policy reforms to ensure that all measures to identify irregular migrants are conducted in full compliance with national and international law prohibiting discrimination, including ending ethnic profiling, and arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

“No one should be held by the police, even for a short time, without good reason,” Cossé said.