Despite this year’s law reform that depenalized family relations, a judicial ruling yesterday confirmed that Evie Statiri, wife of imprisoned anarchist Gerasimos Tsakalos, will not be released from detention. Evie announced her intention to go on hunger strike on September 14th and continue her struggle until her demand for freedom is met. Last week many actions of solidarity took place across Greece and despite the public’s preoccupation with the upcoming elections, the beginning of a wide movement of support can be identified in the numerous actions and letters from individuals, organizations and collectivities. Information regarding the case is published on twitter under #evistatiri.
The ruling against Evie’s appeal was based purely on political motives and according to political prisoner Olga Economidou, her detention can be interpreted as an effort to isolate political prisoners from their families and loved ones and to deploy tactics of intimidation against individuals that remain active in prisoners’ rights campaigns. At the same time there is a simultaneous effort to brand families of anarchist prisoners dangerous in order to construct a narrative of domestic extremism that does not include far-right groups and ideology. That is why the same judicial council has recently released E.Kasidiaris, member of the neonazi Golden Dawn after a review presided by the same attorney of appeals, E. Chalevidou. How can nazis that organized attacks against individuals and operate paramilitary groups with trained members, not be considered a threat to society and how come these violent perpetrators and murderers now appear on national television as valid politicians? In contrast the mother of Gerasimos Tsakalos faces restrictive conditions of release and is not be allowed to get to Athens for medical tests since her heath has deteriorated. Why is an elderly woman’s presence in Athens labeled ”high risk” but fascists are allowed to roam the streets of the capital without any restriction depite the danger faced by future victims? Does that not mean that the permissive attitude of the justice system towards nazis encourages racism, hate crime and politically motivated attacks against leftists and anarchists? This very fact constitutes further proof that the lives of potential victims targeted by the criminal organization -migrants, refugees, LGBT, disabled, leftists, anarchists- are not important to the state because their very exisence challenges the norms imposed by a hierarchical society aiming to preserve inequalities which on the macro-level function as the source of wealth of a privileged upper-class minority.
Evie wrote the following letter which was published on AthensIndymedia:
”It’s been six months since I have been forced to look at the sky through barbed wire and count time based on when the door of my cell gets locked. The recent rejection of my appeal for release has confirmed what I have known all along since the first days I found myself in the detention cells of the counter-terrorism unit. My detention is not a personal matter. My detention reflects a wider repressive strategy which aims at the prevalence of fear and the satisfaction of the vengeful menace of the prosecuting authorities waged against political prisoners and those who do not abide by the principles of the culture of power.
I still am in prison and my relationship with my political prisoner husband, member of the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, Gerasimos Tsakalos, is being used as incriminating evidence. I remain in prison because I did not denounce my beliefs, my husband and our relationship.
I am aware that their fascist refusal to allow me to have my freedom back, which has been taken away from me, is the result of orders by the authorities and police-judicial processes which aim at spreading a very specific message of fear. Those who stand by political prisoners face the danger to be put in the cell next door. Those who don’t bow their head, don’t look down and don’t remain silent before the idols of authority could be handcuffed and dragged to jail, to interrogation rooms, to court.
But the solidarity actions that took place last week showed me that fear could dominate but it does not have a place in the hearts and minds of free people.
I send a big thank you to all those people whose actions casted out the dictatorship of lies and the hypocrisy of justice which keep me locked in their cells. A new struggle begins…
I respond to the negative ultimatum of the judges with a hungerstrike, which is the last resort of all captives and I demand my release.
My intention was to commense the hunger tomorrow in case my appeal had not gone through, since that’s what I had already announced in a previous letter. In the days that followed after the announcement of my decision, many comrades, especially from the countryside, asked for a time interval for more comrades to return and thus achieve a better organization of the solidarity campaign. I understand the current difficulties in conjuncion with the pre-electoral climate and because I perceive solidarity as the sharing of common worries, wishes and struggles and not as a instrument, and because I respect and agree with the thoughts of comrades regarding the possibility of increased actions of solidarity, I chose to postpone the hunger strike for a week.
ON MONDAY SEPTEMBER 14TH I AM GOING ON HUNGER STRIKE against fear and injustice.
This is a decision whose weight could crash me, but I can’t afford to do otherwise… I refuse to accept the dictatorhsip of lies and hypocrisy of a justice system that carries out contracts that exterminate freedom for the interests of power.
This hungerstrike, apart from a struggle of freedom, is a tribute to all those who struggled against power before me and a defence for all those persecuted by the system after me: those who will have stood by political prisoners, they will have voiced their demands and will have dared to live as free human beings and not slaves.
FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
SOLIDARITY IS OUR WEAPON.”