Update from day #6 of the Court of Appeals of our four comrades in Thessaloniki, Greece. The prosecutor explained the basis of the laws under which the four defendants are accused and his opinion on which charges should be pursued. Defence lawyers gave their summing up of the cases. The plan was for the trial to end today... Background information at http://www.salonikisolidarity.org.uk
For previous court reports, see:
Day 1: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/6948
Day 2: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/6957
Day 3: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/7001
Days 4-5: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/7102
Wednesday 26 January 2011, 9am, Thessaloniki Courthouse.
With the prosecution having been completed and the defence witnesses rather hastily examined, it was now the job of the prosecutor to outline the reasoning of the laws being used to charge the defendants.
The charges were: causing explosions with the intent to endanger human life, possession of materials or devices designed to cause explosions. The point here is that possession can be proven even if the explosives were in your possession for a second. Causing explosions was intricately linked to possession, ie, you had to possess in order to cause, though they stood as separate charges. Combining the act of possession and causation created the offence of 'Distinguished riot'.
So far so good. Or bad, depending on how you look at it.
He outlined what had happened in Genoa in 2001, and the expectation of trouble at the June 2003 EU summit in Thessaloniki. The 'Black Bloc' was expected to be present, and would be prepared, armed with a variety of weapons with the intent to endanger life and property in defiance of authority. In the event, shops, cars and offices were attacked, damaged or burnt. 8 police were injured.
For Michalis, he demanded that he be convicted of causing continuous explosions - more serious than causing a single explosion. He could not believe that policeman today could be either mistaken in identification or be lying: if the cops had wanted to fabricate evidence they would have used more than one police witness against Michalis. He concluded that the decision of the first trial was correct and that Michalis should be convicted of causing continuous explosions, possession of explosives and distinguished riot.
For Kastro, he said that he had thrown 10 molotovs, though without endangering life. In that sense, the causation charge was dropped but he demanded prosecution for possession of explosives, and of distinguished riot.
For Fernando, both the possession and use of explosives was not proven due to doubts about identification and the unreliability of the police witnesses. He requested that all charges against Fernando be dropped.
For Simon, he was satisfied that he had caused one single explosion with intent to endanger life (in the first trial it had been continuous explosions), that the possession of 7 molotovs was proven by 9 witnesses against him, and he could not believe that 9 cops would all be lying. He concluded that he may well have been beaten, but these two charges combined created the third charge of distinguished riot.
After a break, 5 of the lawyers made their closing speeches in favour of their clients and as part of the broader picture that united all the cases. However, as the clock ticked towards 15.00, Bakkellas, the lawyer for Simon, asked that he delay his summing up as there would not be time before the usual end of court business at 15.30. The judges wanted him to go ahead and run over if necessary, and there was a certain amount of shouting. Also, the clerk of the court pointed out that she didn't want it to overrun as she was not going to be paid overtime.
One of the three judges was already booked for another trial Thursday, and Friday was going to be another strike day for the lawyers' union. So the presentation of Bakkellas' summing up was delayed to be heard on Monday morning, 31 January 2011. The judges would then retire to deliberate and hopefully deliver their verdict later that day.
Court ended 15.30 GMT+2
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Background info about the case against the remaining four defendants from the demonstrations against the European Union summit in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 2003. The final trial, where they face between 4 and 8 years in prison, will take place in January 2011.
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