Originally appeared in Εκδοχή
By Effie Mougaraki, lawyer
In the aftermath of the events in Amygdaleza, I would like to share an incident that I came to witness. Yesterday afternoon, 13/02/2015, I visited an imprisoned immigrant from Iraq at the Immigration Department jail on Petrou Rally Street. At that time, I was the only lawyer present in jail.
The prisoner mentioned that a few days ago he was assaulted by six police officers of the Department (for a silly reason or perhaps no reason) in the room where the blankets are kept. Afterwards, he was transferred on the third floor, where he was hung through his arms for 2,5 hours while his legs were tied together. I was told that the rest of the prisoners, during these events, denied their food and demanded the return of the tortured man to his cell. When he came back, after 2,5 hours they still denied to eat until the director came for the incident to be reported. The director indeed came and a report was filed and when the director asked if he could identify them, the victim replied ”I know them all one by one”. He mentioned that the other day they broke the arm of a man from Georgia and that these are daily incidents that happen all the time.
I was told all of the above under the sounds of beating and swearing coming a few metres away from us. I heard screaming, kicking and the sound of a head being smashed on the wall. Then the officers became overconfident and started assaulting an immigrant right in fornt of me, asking him ” are you the one revolting in here?”. I mean, I saw this with my own eyes, diagonally on my left, in a room with an open door, where 2-3 police officers were beating an immigrant who screamed for help. I started shouting, I mean screaming, for them to stop and indeed they ceased immediately. After two minutes a police officer came out of the room where the attack took place, a real fascist, standing on the side of the prisoner behind the glass divide and started to argue with me aggressively because I involved myself in their business. He seemed uncomfortable and afraid although aggressive and excessively macho and said threateningly ”you saw nothing, you heard nothing, your job, do your job”. I did not back down and I was still screaming, asking for his name which ofcourse I was not given and I promised him that this was not the end of it.
I presume we are all well aware of what goes on in the immigrant detention centres and this confirms that nothing has changed in reality yet. Since I was an eyewitness of this incident, an earwitness of the previous assault and I was informed by my client for his own torture and since I left feeling sick to my stomach, I think that now I do not have the option of not taking this any further, somehow.