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Greek anarchist arrested with terrorist charges

In the early Monday morning of November 26th the 27-year-old anarchist Vaggelis Botzatzis was arrested by state security of Thessaloniki, Greece. Until Monday afternoon he was not allowed to contact with an attorney, his house and the one of his girlfriend (where he has been arrested) were searched. He is charged under strict anti-terrorism laws passed in 2001 and include 5 felonies and 3 delinquencies:

  • arson done and attempted, joint and repeated
  • explosion done and attempted, joint and repeated
  • making and possession of explosive mechanism
  • grand case of damage to private property
  • criminal organization
  • terrorist actions joint and repeated
  • illegal possession of weaponry.

At the same time 3 other anarchists who have the same charges are wanted by the police, their faces even were shown in the media.
From the beginning, Vaggelis Botzatzis declared himself as an anarchist and that he wouldn’t accept any of his charges. In his first letter from the 30th of November he wrote:

“It is more than obvious that the point of time that everything is happening is not accidental at all. In a period of recomposition of control and repression, and attack to every kind of right and social conquest, the state and its mechanisms activate every mean to achieve their consolidation. In this specific case, penalizing political beliefs and relationships between comrades, they activate the so called “law against terrorism” and create an internal enemy: the “terrorist” anarchists. The media, going along with this, shatter any sense of dignity to the altar of parade/show.
Since Thursday night 29/11/2007 I am kept in detention at Komotini’s prison awaiting trial.
The only sure thing is that nothing is over and everything continues.”

If convicted, Botzatzis (as the other 3 hunted anarchist as well) faces up to 25 years in prison. The Police said he allegedly took part in an arson attack Monday on a Thessaloniki back lot belonging to a French car dealership - in an apparent show of solidarity with youths rioting in the suburbs of Paris. At least five cars were damaged. He is also suspected of involvement in attacks in recent months on a bank ATM and two trucks owned by the state power corporation, police said.

Greek anarchist Vaggelis Botzatzis got arrested in Thessaloniki during the early hours of November 26th 2007. Later the same day cops raided the house of his girlfriend as well as the apartment where Botzatzis has been living together with his brother. At noon the police takes his girlfriend into custody to the central police station of Thessaloniki. Another four anarchists of the political squat Terra Incognita - two of them very close friends of Vaggelis Botzatzis - are taken to the same police station.
At 22:30h the same day more than 100 anarchists gather outside the central police station, where their comrades were kept, shouting slogans in solidarity to them and demanding their releases. Late at night the four anarchists were released, but Botzatzis and his girlfriend were still kept inside.
The next day, the 27th of November, Vaggelis' girlfriend gets out in the late afternoon. During this day the cops searched the houses of 3 more anarchists, who are also very close friends and comrades of Vaggelis Botzatzis. The latter gets finally informed about his accusations, which are to have taken part in three arsons. The first action he is accused of it the attack against a Millenium Bank at the west-side of Thessaloniki in July 2007. This action had taken place in solidarity to the anarchist G. Dimitrakis, who is imprisoned for armed bank robbery. The second action he is accused of is an attack at 3 cars of the central electricity company of Greece which took place as an act against the pollution of the environment and against the deaths of some of this company's workers. The third action was an attack to more than 10 cars of a Peugeot car dealership. This action happened in the very first hours of the 26th of November, just a few hours before the arrest of Vaggelis Botzatzis.
In the afternoon of the 27th November Vaggelis is informed at the court that he has got 3 days in order to appear in front of the public prosecutor. The police has also issued 3 warrants for the anarchists whose houses were raided earlier but who have not been found yet. They are wanted since and face the same accusations like their imprisoned comrade.
The next day photographs of the 3 wanted anarchists appear at many newspapers and in the TV news. The local newspaper of Thessaloniki "Makedonia" is one of them that is acting in full harmony with police demands.
The 29th of November is the day of the prosecution. Anarchists gather outside the court, but they can't get in touch with Botzatzis since he is taken inside very carefully by the police. He denies all the accusations and is taken to Komotini prison the same day to await trial. He can be kept in prison up to 18 months without trial .
The following days are spent to put spray paints all over the town while the police is behaving pretty aggressive.
On Monday the 3rd of December anarchists gather outside of the central office of the "Makedonia" newspaper with a banner, shouting slogans and spray painting.
The next day a big banner which is tied to balloons rises from the central square of Thessaloniki in front of thousands of people, who gathered there because of the celebrations and happenings due to the "day of angels".
Some days later, at Friday the 7th of November, a demonstration at Ano Poli (the old town) takes place in solidarity with the 4 anarchists and against the raids at their houses (all of them took place in this part of the city).
During the next week comrades of Botzatzis visit Athens, Giannena, Volos and other big towns of Greece in order to inform the anarchists there about the situation.
The 15th of December a big concert takes place at the Polytechnical School of Thessaloniki in order to raise money Vaggelis, the 3 wanted ones as well as other anarchist prisoners (after this text a list of anarchist prisoners in Greece is added).
In the early morning hours of the 20th December an attack against cars of the Municipality Police is carried out at the west-side of Thessaloniki as the "first and the least answer to the unfair imprisonment of the anarchist Vaggelis Botzatzis" and in solidarity to the 3 wanted anarchists.
The next day the central offices of the Union of the Newspapers of Thessaloniki and Makedonia-Thrace get occupied. The same day at 13:30h around 60 anarchists sabotage a camera at the center of Thessaloniki with two banners, one against cameras and the everyday control, and the other one for the liberation of Botzatzis.
At the 22nd, about 150 anarchists demonstrate in front of the Komotini prison. Too many policemen surround the demonstration which is going to the prison (which is out of town). We stop next to the prison, the police would not allow us to reach the central gate. Again many slogans are shouted out loud so that Botzatzis and the other prisoners can hear us. A balloon banner flies over the prison. Then the demonstration continues in the town of Komotini, spray paintings are done, flyers spread etc. This demonstration became a big event for this town and its media for the next days and so Vaggelis' name the the whole case is now known by everyone there.

Vaggelis Botzatzis
Dikastikes Fylakes
69100 Komotini
Awaiting trial since November 2007. He is accused of three arsons and may be charged under terrorist law. If convicted guilty he faces up to 25 years of imprisonment.

Marios Tsurapas
Dikastikes Fylakes, Pteryga A'
18121 Korydallos


Chrysostomos Kontorevythakis
Fylakes Aylona
19011 Aylona
These two anarchists are awainting trial since June 2007. They are accused of putting gas-bombs beneath a car of the municipality police in Athens. They were caught during the action and don't deny anything.

George Vogiatzis
Dikastikes Fylakes Korydallos, Pteryga E'
18121 Korydallos
Awaiting trial since October 2007. He was caught in place during an armed bank robbery in Athens. He claims the robbery to be an action of denial to the reality of working slavery.

Giannis Dimitrakis
Fylakes Alikarnassos
Iraklio, Crete
Imprisoned since July 2007, sentenced to 35 years for armed bank robbery. The robbery took place in central Athens. He was shot right after the robbery and therefore caught. He claims the robbery to be an action against working slavery. Another 3 anarchists who could escape are wanted for the same action.

Lun, 21/01/2008 – 16:50
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