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At the end of last year we had received news of Andrzej Mazurek’s state of affairs, a Polish man who has been kept in prison since December 2008, he is a prisoner of Greek state (see: Inny Świat nr 1(36)/2012, dział ACK s.29, Comrades tried with Andrzej Mazurek had already described his situation, but the description was fragmentary and ambiguous. Thanks to Greek anarchists we were able to contact Andrzej himself and ask about many circumstances resulting in his arrest and imprisonment.
Andrzej comes from a small town Nowa Dęba in Podkarpacie, Poland. He left Poland in 2007 because of ilegal issues. He led his life as a working immigrant. On the 6th of December 2008 two policemen, , Epaminondas Korkoneas and Wasilios Saraliotis had shot a young anarchist Alexandros Grigoropoulos on one street in Athens. This event resulted in unexpected chain reaction putting together every day experiences of thousands of young Greeks, immigrants and all other groups existing on the margin of “normal life”. The streets of majority of Greek towns were full of anger towards capitalist civilisation of death. This event is even now called the Greek Revolution 2008/2009. Andrzej was not indifferent to police murder showing antagonisms lurking under the surface of capitalist normality. He joined groups fighting against the police and taking back the life-giving space from the city desert. Let’s read what Andrzej has to say about his experiences. This is a part of a letter we have received:
“On the 7th of December 2008 I was in one of Polish bars with my friends from work and I heard about the murder committed by the authority created to protect the society and keep the order on the streets. The murder had led to the social revolt in which thousands of people in the whole Greece. They were students, teachers and common people, elders and youngsters because everyone felt he could be the victim.
As I was sitting in this pub, hearing other people talking I thought we should not just sit and leave it indifferently. I decided to join people who went out on the street to show that there are people opposing authority that kills. I did not know Greek language and I did not know any of the protesters, I decided to join the people who were fighting with the police.
This night me and quite a lot of local anarchists were surrounded and blocked inside one of local schools (schools used to serve as asylum and the police could not enter the school ground then. Nowadays this asylum is not available any more, the government had changed the law). One of the groups had approached me to ask where am I from etc. I did not know Greek but we managed to talk in English. They told me that we were surrounded by police and no one can live the place this night. They took me to one of lecture halls where most of them rested and some of them were asleep. They told me to take any place, rest and sleep.
Next morning, an alarm that I had put on in my phone to go to work woke me up. Some people at the lecture hall were about to leave, others were asleep. Leaving the hall I wondered what is going on outside. As I reached the main door I saw a group of girls ( I had seen them in this university before) giving tyropita( typical Greek breakfast- a cake with cheese) and a cup of hot tea to everyone leaving. I was very surprised with the morning organised like that.
Greek streets were very peaceful. Cleaning services were working. I could smell the smell of burning and tear gas.
I went home as usually, changed my clothing and went to work, where I learned that there is a march through the city to commemorate the killed 15 years old Alex. After work I had went to eat something and I went towards Omonia square where people where gathering and preparing for the march through the city. Thousands of people came.
When the demonstration started I joined the group of people that were on the external part of the march, walking arm by arm, holding one another like a chain so the demonstration could not be divided by the police waiting in every backstreet. The police tried to break the chain many times attacking from those backstreets, using teargas and stun grenades. After some time I left the group of peaceful protesters and joined the group concentrated on the fight with police attacking the march. When the police had come out from the back streets and approached the march, we responded with bottles filled with petrol and stones. Face to face clashes were very frequent. They were armed from feet to teeth, we had planks from some benches in one hand and a piece of marble in another, our eyes were full of hate not allowing us to make a single step back. We struggled all night long. I was frequently leaving one group and joining another.
Somewhere around 3am I was going towards the school, groups fighting the police could still be seen. As we were going back streets, me and some other people had been surrounded by police just in front of the school. We were trapped. The only thing coming to my mind was running towards them in attempt to break they wall and jump over them. It was actually the only way of getting out of this trap. Unfortunately, I failed, I was pushed away and I fell down on the ground and they started to beat me with their truncheons. I was lying down being beat up by the pigs using truncheons and kicked for some time. Finally they stopped, raised me up as I was unable to stand after the hard beating. They took me to a nearby square, full of police. I was handcuffed and sit on the lawn where some other people were kept. After some time I was put into a police jeep and driven to police station.
On the 9th of December, early morning, I was taken for interrogation with the translator from local Polish Embassy. I’ve been asked what were I doing on that street and I’ve been told that I am charged with an assaulting a police officers, throwing stones and petrol bombs at them. Obviously, I did not confess to anything claiming to be an ordinary passer- by on my way home from one of nearby pubs. I testified and was taken into the custody.
On the 10th of December me and some other people were taken into the court. As I was waiting for my turn some man of Arabic or Pakistani origin( I still have no idea where was he from) has approached me and started to chat in Polish. He said he knows Polish and he can translate. He told me in what situation I am at the moment, that I was joined into some group of 5 people, three Greeks, one Palestinian and me. An Official Solicitor had been brought to defend me, one Greek and Palestinian. The translator told to rely on him, he had talked to the Solicitor and he knows what to speak. I just had to say anything so the lawyer thought that he is translating.
We went to the court in a group of five and the first question was if we know each other. Nobody knew others so they started to examine as individually. My number was 4. As I was waiting for my turn the translator kept telling that there is nothing to be afraid of, that everything would to be ok, they were going to examine us and leave us home. Finally it was my place. I went to the court room, introduced myself and they started to ask questions: what I am doing in Greece, where do I live, they asked if I work etc. When they asked what happened on the riot the Arabic translator was answering in my name, he told me to present my wounds and the marks of beating up by the police. The whole right side of my body (luckily I had a crash helmet that I took from one of the devastated and robbed shops). The public prosecutor’s office ordered o take me to the hospital for the x-ray examination what did not happen. The examination was over, we were waiting for the verdict. The Arab kept smiling and repeated that everything is going to be ok.
After some time we were called into the court room. They were reading our surnames and some sentences in Greek. I could read from the faces of the Greeks who were judged with me that we are going to be punished. The prosecutor kept reading and the Arab said that we are going to be retained until the trial. We were taken back to the custody where we spent another night and next evening we were taken to the prison.
Like in every prison, the start was rather difficult, I was the only Pole in the prison wing and it was difficult to communicate. Greek prison is completely different than those in Poland. The wards are open for the whole day and we can use the telephones. It resembles more the dormitory rather than prison.
After 6 months of waiting I had received the paper from the court, the case in which the decision concerning my future was about to be carried out. The trial was rejected, just like after 12 months later. At the end of December I was called to the court at the 16 of January 2010.
Few days before the trial the same advocate that was helping me in the first trial came and told me to gather documents that may serve as a proof that I had been living in Greece for longer time and that I worked legally etc. He told me it was going to be hard way through because they had prosecuted me with a lot of charges, but he believed that they should let me free with suspended sentence.
In the day of the trial I had learned that I was the only person kept in prison, that the rest of them had been set free until the trial. The trial was deferred because someone was absent. It was deferred on the 1 of march and next on the 11th of march and so on, it was adjourned 11 times. The trial was carried on on the 18th and 19th of May.
On the 18th of May I was interrogated as number 4. This Arab was my translator once again, he did not translate anything. He told me that he had discussed everything with the advocate and he knew what to say. All I was meant to do is pretend I testify.
They though I came from Poland only to protest. In order to prove that I had left in Greece for a longer time and I had worked I brought all the documents that the advocate had asked me to bring and my boss came to the trial as a witness. The advocate has not even taken them out during the trial, he has remained quite silent.
The next day, on the 19th of May I went to hear the sentence. The judge started to read: numbers 1,2,3 are found innocent. Numbers 4 and 5 (me and one of Greeks) were found guilty, the judge started to read the accusations and the sentences. I could not understand anything, I could only see the Arab counting years and months in Greek. The advocate had objected and asked t e judge to lighten the sentence. All the jury left for the deliberation. When they had left, the translator told me that they propose 12 years for an attempt to killer the police officer by throwing the petrol bombs and around 100 months for the rest of charges. The advocate has objected several times, the verdict was changed into 7 years and leaving the Greek free until he appeals. The advocate stopped tithing since that moment. When I asked him after the trial what is my final sentence he replied that it is 7 years and we will discuss it later, that he will come to visit me and we shall talk. I haven’t seen him since then.
After few months I was taken away to a different prison, where I met few anarchists who were interested in ma case. They were surprised that anyone is still kept in prison for the December 2008 revolt. They told me that my sentence is much bigger than I thought: 7 years and 55 months and I was accused of:
-Using explosives with an attempt to kill a police officer
-Possessing explosives (petrol bomb)
-Possessing of explosives (petrol bombs)
-Production of explosives (petrol bombs)
-Property devastation
-Devastation of banks, shops and other objects
-And another one that I am unable to recall now
To sum up, I am charged with 7 crimes. I am waiting for an appeal trial at 11th of June 2012. Local anarchists will probably gather at the court entrance to protest and demand an immediate release .
Perhaps I will go to the next course with a new advocate provided by local organizations. I will find out what did the Arabic translator say in my name.
When it comes to the charges:
-In the moment of the arrest I did not posses any bottles with petrol, sticks or stones. My face was not hidden
-As we were surrounded no clashes with the police happened. I was walking peacefully before I got surrounded and arrested
-None of the charges are proven and they are based only on the testimonies of police officers that had attacked me”
According to Andrzej description, the verdict of this case was predestinated. An immigrant not knowing the Greek language, remaining at the mercy of departmental representatives, whose activity during the trial remains at least unclear, was practically defenceless when dealing with Greek (In)Justice Administration. According to the rule in which the law is a web in which only minnow can get caught, a lonely protester, isolated from others, became a victim of a revengeful framing, bamboozling into long term sentence by the court authority. Despite previous law problems Andrzej was not afraid to go out on the street and joined other disappointed young people, anarchists, uncontrolled in an act of solidarity. He joined people answering the police authoritarian violence of the “bank junta” system.
Today, when the day of Andrzej appeal trial is getting closer it is a good moment to show our solidarity for the last prisoner of the December Revolt. No participant of a social war closed behind bars can be left on his own in prison and forgotten. We encourage all those who are interested in Andrzejs good, who want to raise their voices of disobedience and join the turbulent waves of Greek struggle to take up solidarity actions that will prove Greek authorities that Andrzej is not alone! Solidarity is a diverse way of opportunities allowing acting on many different grounds. We provide addresses of Greek diplomatic posts in Poland for those who wish to express their opinion sending letters and e-mails. You can send letters of protest and demand setting our comrade free. The appeal trial is planned for the 11th of June 2012. It is good to raise our voice earlier so they can pass it to their bosses. Even if they ignore our voice, we shall let them know, that we are conscious, we don’t forget and they are not able to hide their repressive moves against freedom.
INNY ŚWIAT quarterly editorial staff portal editorial staff portal editorial staff
Anarchist Black Cross
You can mail Andrzej at the address:
Αντρέ Μαζούρεκ/André Mazurek
Filaki Larissas, B Pteriga (Larissa Prison, 2nd Wing)
Larissa 21110, Ελλάδα/Greece