July 2017, Camp Moria on the island of Lesbos (Greece). A big demonstration, against the inhuman conditions in which the migrants are held, overflows. The police force represses it in a “muscular” way. Later in the day, after a certain period following the facts. Greek police will make arrests in the camp.
35 migrants, including from Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, are being prosecuted for acts of violence and arson. Pretending the possibility of leaks, they will wait in jail until trial.
On April 20, 2018, after 10 months of confinement, the trial begins. In order to ensure respect for fundamental rights and a “fair trial protected by the European Convention on Human Rights”, several European associations had constituted a delegation to oversee this trial. According to this delegation’s report, the defendants did not have the means to defend themselves properly.
No Proper Interpreters
Six lawyers for 35 migrants. Five interpreters in all, including one for twenty French speakers. For the observer delegation it was obvious that there would be no instant translation possible or individual translations. Thus, the delegation considers that the Greek authorities “failed in their obligation to provide the accused with a translation enabling them to take cognizance of the documents setting out the facts alleged against them “.
Inconsistencies of the Trial
According to the report of the observation delegation, according to the statements of some accused, the latter were not even present during the events. During the trial, the migrants were not questioned about these statements, nor about police violence during the arrests, which were proven, filmed and even broadcast on local news channels soon after the fact.
why the police went only to places in the camp where only black people lived
Was This Discrimination?
Another fact piqued the curiosity of the observer delegation. While all the evidence indicated that individuals of various origins and nationalities took part in this demonstration, the delegation asks the question of “why the police went only to places in the camp where only black people lived”, before continuing ” This suggests that black Africans have been unfairly targeted. Of the 35 accused, 34 are black.”
More than the outcome of the trial, the associations denounce the manner in which this trial was conducted and ” the violations of this fundamental right, in all its components, committed during the trial, in particular the right to an interpreter, the right to be tried within a reasonable time and the right to individualization of the sentence “.