Please read and disseminate. This is to the very heart of AAfG as Mohammed is one of us, and explicitly shows Greece and UK’s true face on the treatment of Asylum seekers, and respect to Human Rights.
Also please sign the petition here.
Mohammed had been living in Greece since 2002. The Greek authorities granted him political refugee status in 2011. In 2012, with the increase in racist attacks by neo-Nazi Golden Dawn’s ‘assault battalions’ and the subsequent cooperation/acquiescence on the part of sections of the Greek police force, Mohammed attempted by all means to record and to publicise these attacks in reports published in newspapers, blogs, and other outlets. By that time refugees and immigrants were afraid to leave their homes due to fear of persecution: they would probably have to face either the –occasionally lethal- assault battalions of the Golden Dawn, or the police’s ‘sweep’ operations under the ironic code-name ‘Hospitable Zeus’.
At the time, the police were under instructions not only to stop and to profile those they suspected of being undocumented migrants, but to also bring those whose papers were in order to police premises for interrogation even if they were holders of the pink card (i.e., evidence that they had already applied for asylum and were awaiting a decision).
With the excuse of checking his documents, in May 2012 Mohammed was taken by police authorities to St Panteleimon police premises where he had been abused and humiliated. They told him that they were aware of his human rights activism and they threatened him that he should stop and must leave the country. After hours of interrogation in the police station they threw him out naked with only his underwear on.
In September 2012 two Golden Dawn members lied in wait outside Mohammed’s house and threatened him by stating that he only had two weeks to leave his home and Greece. Mohammed directly reported the incident to the police and the answer was that “you do not know who they are and so we cannot do anything; these things are nowadays very common…” –and refused to allow him to lodge his complaint. After ten days Golden Dawn thugs invaded his house in the middle of the night, destroying everything, and shouting the Golden Dawn slogan: ‘Blood and Honour’. Mohammed called the police emergency number (i.e., 999 equivalent) but police only arrived as late as two hours after the break in. While they told Mohammed that “it’s better to leave your home to protect yourself” they took no steps to protect him. The next day Mohammed paid 100 euros in order to lodge the complaint with the criminal courts and was told that it will take at least a year for a public prosecutor to look into it given that “this is happening every day”.
Mohammed had to leave his home and was hosted by a friend of his. In May 2013, while out interviewing some homeless refugees about the attacks and intimidation they might have experienced, Mohammed was attacked by three gang members of Golden Dawn; this is the point in time when Mohammed finally accepted that his life was at risk and that he had to leave Greece and go to another European country, namely the UK, which is the only part of the EU were members of his family have permanent lawful residence.
Mohammed travelled there legally, as a recognised refugee, and applied again for asylum, since he was facing actual threats to his life in a country of the EU that had granted him his refugee status (namely, Greece). That danger remains present, since Mohammed has been targeted and persecuted repeatedly by Golden Dawn’s ‘troops’ due to: his refugee advocacy and human rights activism, (for instance, Mohammed blogs about and exposes the criminal activities of Golden Dawners), his nationality, and to being perceived by Golden Dawners of being gay. All this time, despite Mohammed being in safer Britain, the threats against him via phone calls and emails continue.
After fifteen months, the Home Office rejected Mohammed’s request for asylum, describing Golden Dawn’s often deadly assault battalions as ‘activists’. Although they recognised Mohammed’s struggle, they considered that it was perfectly within the bounds of the UK’s commitment to the rule of law and to democratic values to reject his international protection claim without regard to the crux of the application on the part of Mohammed, which is that his life is threatened in Greece, and this threat remains despite the recent change of government (“but … you have to go back to Greece because you are a recognised political refugee there”). Had Mohammed merely been an asylum seeker and not a recognised refugee in Greece, the British authorities it is most unlikely that the Home Office would have decided his return to Greece. They also paid no attention to his serious health problems and to the fact that he is a person taking daily medication for his survival, nor that his only family on EU ground lives permanently in Britain, nor that the Greek State persistently failed to protect him from very serious crimes and threats against his life, physical and mental integrity, property, and his private and family life. “Greece is a big country and you could go and live elsewhere,” they stated.
The Hellenic Action for Human Rights – ‘Pleiades’ (HAHR) supports Mohammed’s Appeal against the rejection of the asylum claim he lodged with the Home Office, acting in cooperation with his British legal representative, both in terms of documentation of his application and also with the presence of HAHR’s chairwoman, Athens lawyer and human rights activist Ms. Electra – Leda Koutra at the hearing on 31 July 2015 to testify in support of Mohammed’s Appeal before the Appeals Authority.
Following the outbreak of the financial crisis and the anti-labour austerity policies that governments have been applying in Greece over recent years, this nazi outfit ‘Golden Dawn’ is the third largest parliamentary force in Greece. This is an organisation which had previously openly through its publications glorified Hitler, that applies pogrom like tactics as a means of national awakening, and that believes that this is its avenue to power. With the support of members of the police and the judiciary, they arm their hit squads to attack migrants, refugees, those in solidarity with them, leftists, Romanis, LGBT people, and anyone else they consider an internal enemy.
It is clear that the ‘affluent states’ (of the EU) have fostered a buffer zone at their extremities around the EU in order to divert refugees and migrants from ever reaching the ‘affluent’ centre of the EU. It is criminal that the EU keeps imposing extreme austerity on countries such as Greece totally indifferent to the consequences that these measures have on the basic needs and the human rights of the people. It is also criminal that on some occasions the EU condemns that states for failing refugees and migrants and on other occasions it is entirely indifferent to the plight of the very same refugees and migrants, and puts no pressure on the Greek state to ensure that these fundamental rights for those fleeing persecution under a whole host of international treaties be upheld. Furthermore, it is criminal that the EU as a matter of policy does not permit those granted refugee status to move to another EU state in which they wish to live.
Antifascist Action for Greece (AAfG) supports Mohammed’s application and desire as his fundamental right to his safety, and we call upon anti-racist and anti-fascist groups, progressive movements, refugee and migrant advocacy groups and human rights groups to:
Pledge their solidarity and to support the legitimate struggle of a political refugee; and to
Protest against the official reference on the part of a competent UK authority (the Home Office) to ‘Golden Dawn’ criminals as ‘activists’.