Last month a PhD student named only as “Irianna” by the press was jailed for 13 years for being a member of Greek insurrectionist group Conspiracy of Fire Cells. The case has caused uproar across the country as the 29-year-old language student, who says she has no connection to the group and is not an anarchist, was convicted on the basis of a single, partial fingerprint on a gun clip.
The case, which sparked a major riot in downtown Athens on July 17th when Irianna’s appeal was rejected, has prompted direct action group Rouvikonas to write a statement on what happened, and on the descent of the “great radical hope” Syriza government into outright repression of anarchist organisations via a cosy collaboration with the legal services.
In this spectacle of bourgeois democracy and upper-class-serving narratives of an imaginary constitutional legality, one can find what we call ”separation of powers’.’ In this distant utopia, the parliament, the government and the judiciary constitute three different bodies, independent from one another, with their own rules and limitations as defined by the constitution.
How could there be people who actually believe that this is not just true but also possible? To believe that the law is independent from a government which enforces the law and that those who oversee these laws would also be independent? The political power wont overturn itself by becoming separated in three captaincies of special duty, neither in Greece nor in any other country in this world at any time. The political power, the State, regardless of how many groups it’s made of, remains united and undivided in terms of its strategic choices toward the social base. It was, it is and it always will be, until we get rid of it along with the economic class it’s been involved with.
Syriza is well aware of that. As a political party which had one feet on the streets and the other sunk deeply in the swamp of democracy, it knows the rules of the game. Moreover, Syriza, as the progeny of a flossy and sell-out eurocommunist left, maintains the tradition of an emotionally charged democratic rhetoric, filled with an authentic nothingness. ”We are every word of the constitution” they said and we have absolutely no reason to disagree. Every word indeed, even those who have not been written but remained implied.
These days, we experience another soap opera of democracy where the ”independence of the justice system” is at stake. The greatest irony is that in this game, all the powers of the Establishment, with Syriza at the forefront, involve a woman who has been persecuted by them.
Irianna, was not only found facing a 13-year prison sentence but also became the protagonist in a play where her prosecutors appear as her defenders. These two aspects, the use of DNA and the antiterrorism law, are only a few of the many examples which prove that the political power is united and undivided.
Irianna, just like Theofilou, Seisides and many more, ended up in prison because the State, by satisfying its own needs and giving into international pressure, legislated on the use of a multi-instrument of
criminalisation: DNA. Next, this guided the mechanisms of repression and the judges depended on it to determine prison sentences. A successful and close-ended system. The separation of powers only serves the distribution of responsibility in such a way that, eventually, nobody is ever held accountable for cases similar to Irianna’s.
When we hear politicians in the government challenging the way DNA is being used as a mechanism that sends militants in prison, we can have no other reaction than laugh … They are trying to fool us, with the traditional tricks social-democracy always has in use.
But the situation is even worse than that. Before anyone who has faith in democracy (not us) manages to utter ”If you don’t like court verdicts, then change the law”, Minister of Justice Kontonis announced a further extension of anti-terrorism law (in order to later take it back) with Orwellian decrees which aim to tackle political beliefs directly. And even before this, the judicial authorities adopted the informal demand of repentance from political prisoners, in order to grant them rights such as prison furloughs, which other prisoners already enjoy.
This is something that been decided neither by the government nor the legislature and still nobody has condemned this practice, despite the ongoing prison struggles and mobilisations.
Power remains undivided against society and the struggles of people. This soap-opera of justice, is nothing more than a conflict among groups which run the state and represent different parts of the upper-class. It’s just that Syriza wants to intrude a traditionally right-wing castle which controls power and New Democracy fights back in order to prevent this. In this struggle, they will entangle those who fight against them and present themselves as their ”supporters” or even their executioners. Who, among judges, MPs, or ministers, has paid any attention to the tens of scientists, Institutes and Universities which defined DNA as an unreliable evidence which cannot be used to justify guilty verdicts? Is any Syriza politician concerned with their pre-election agenda, which among others contained a commitment to abolish counter-terrorism laws? And whom are these rights supposed to benefit?
The main concern of the Establishment is itself. But our concern is that Irianna has been sentenced to 13 years in prison and Tasos Theofilou spent five years in a cell before his acquittal (while the prosecutor was after an even lengthier sentence than his initial conviction). We are concerned about the rights of political prisoners and particularly their right to furloughs from prison. We are concerned about the silence of a society in awkwardness, that decides to shout out loud and the wheel goes round again.
Nobody should have any doubts that without a wave of solidarity, Theofilou would have been sentenced to life and there would be no hope for Irianna. What we witness in this micro-scale of repression applies
to all situations: we lose everything we choose not to fight for. We bury ourselves in silence when we choose not to speak up.
Irianna is still in prison. Political prisoners are still deprived of the right to furloughs.
We carried through this intervention in order to tell the people who belong to the same social and class position as we do, that we must raise our voices. Louder. For Irianna, for political prisoners, for
This article was translated by the Radio Fragmata Translation Project