The systematic incarceration of people on the move at Europe’s external borders must stop!
On 4th of February, 2020, Hamza and Mohamed were sentenced to 4 years and 1 month in prison after their own flight for “smuggling” and “aiding illegal immigration”. They had fled from Morocco and been searching for a better life and, together with other people, made it to Greece on a makeshift boat.
In Greece, they arrived, only to be immediately shot at by Greek border police. They were arrested and beaten up. In addition to this, Hamza Haddi and Mohamed Haddar were accused of and sentenced for the “smuggling” of the other people – one of them being Hamza’s own brother Yassine!
The case of Hamza & Mohamed is emblematic for the systematic criminalisation and incarceration of people on the move. The European Union not only criminalises those supporting migrants and refugees; following pressure by the EU, Greece has established the necessary legal framework to criminalise people on the move themselves for their own flight.
This way, the Greece coast guard arrests 1 – 2 persons per arriving boat and accuses them arbitrarily of smuggling and aiding illegal entry (more info here). Arrested immediately upon arrival, the majority of them disappear unknown and unheard of and with no access to support from outside. According to official data by the Greek ministry of justice, they make up the biggest group of people imprisoned in Greece.
Hamza and Mohamed thus are emblematic of another inhuman and brutal facet of Europe’s border policy.
The accusations against them are clearly unfounded. They are refugees, not smugglers.
Groups and people across Europe – among them Carola Rackete and the European Democratic Lawyers (AED) declared their solidarity with Hamza & Mohamed and by that with all the other people affected in February (see our joint solidarity statement); on the day of the trial the court room was filled up to the last seat by local and international supporters such as the iuventa10 or the AED.
Successfully – following the public attention and pressure they were sentenced to a relatively
“low” sentence of 4 years and 1 month (average sentence in these kind of trials is 44 years).
The only right verdict though is an acquittal!
They are innocent and haven’t done anything wrong.
On top of that, they cannot apply for asylum in Greece if they are not getting acquitted because then they are “convicted criminals”.
• Make the case of Hamza & Mohamed known and by that the inhuman politics of which this case is emblematic and call for their acquittal!
• Attend the appeal hearing on 1st of September 2020 in Komotini, Greece!
• Write your friends in Greece!
FREEDOM FOR HAMZA AND MOHAMED
and for all those that are suffering the same fate, being imprisoned in Greek and Italian prisons because they were looking for a better life.
Monday, 17th of August, 2020