Exactly one year ago today, in the early morning hours of December 15, 2021, Z. and a friend gave a ride to three people in a car in the so-called Slovenia, who stopped on the side of the road. Only a short time later, Slovenian police stopped the car, whereupon all five were arrested.

The Slovenian police took the three car-stoppers directly to a prisoner transporter after some racist insults. The three were subsequently interrogated for hours, completely overtired, dehydrated and hungry, first by the police and then by the court, before being taken to a refugee camp in Slovenia. 

After being stopped, Z. was held outside in sub-zero temperatures for over three hours by the Slovenian police. Finally, she was taken to the police detention center, where they locked her in a solitary cell. The charge: smuggling. After two days, Z. was brought before a custody-judge. The judge released Z. for the time being, until the Senate finally decided a month later that she did not need to be held in custody, as there was not a flight risk. Two more months later, all charges against Z. were dropped. The entire trial was not completed and all charges dropped until 10 months later, after Z. was required to testify in court. 

Mutual assistance is systematically fought and prevented by the states in and on the way to the "peace project" EU. In the case of Z., the case ended smoothly. Thousands of other people are sitting in jail for several years, some for the rest of their lives, on the same charges in a wide variety of countries.

What happened when the authorities stopped you?
"The cops took care of my friend first. He had to get out of the car and was handcuffed. He was yelled at throughout. After that, it was my turn. While they were yelling and sexist insults at me, other cops were putting the three car stoppers in a prisoner van. That’s when I realized what a large contingent of state power was there for us. They also made it very clear that I would now be in jail for 3 years. We had to wait outside in sub-zero temperatures in the middle of the night for the cops to search the car twice. I think they were looking for money, weapons and smartphones. It was so cold. Every time I freeze my toes now, my mind is back at the highway rest stop. When a female cop finally got there and patted me down for weapons, we too were put into a prisoner transport van, taken away and locked up."

What were the conditions like in custody?
"I was in a single cell. It was a small room with a mattress, table, toilet and sink. I was given 100 pieces of toilet paper sheets and a plastic cup. There was a very small, barred window. If I stood on the armchair, I could see out a little. The door was a massive steel door with a hatch that was usually closed. There was a lot of food, especially pork. I was only allowed to smoke in another room and I had to ring the doorbell every time. More than 3 cigarettes per day were not possible. Otherwise there was nothing. No book, no music, no distraction. Sleeping was difficult because the light was on in the cell all the time. They also often woke me up, said something to me in Slovenian and left."

What were the cops’ strategies?
"One strategy is certainly not letting you sleep. When you are completely overtired, your thoughts are not clear and it can quickly happen that you say things that you then regret. They have really tried a lot of 0815 tricks. It is a great advantage if before such a situation you have read the new book of the Project-Evasion ’How the police interrogates and how we can defend ourselves against it’ :)
One cop, just before the interrogation, said something like ’hey, between you and me. you can tell me. i’m just curious - this won’t go into the official statement’. After he realized that I wasn’t going to say anything, he freaked out and yelled at me. Then the other cop was again very nice. But they all humiliated and devalued me again and again. Another cop told me that the three hitchhikers had already confessed everything and that it was my turn now. Another told me that I should betray my friend, then I would get out of here. In principle, I was not allowed to make any phone calls. Finally, however, I was able to successfully press the tear gland on a cop. He watched me closely and of course listened to me while I was on the phone. One of them also told me that I shouldn’t be so stupid and just sign the things. It would save them work and they would not have to justify themselves to the pre-trial judge. Besides, I would be treated nicer.
But what they said all and every time was an offer for a deal."

They offered you a deal?
"Yes, they offer the same deal to all the people there who are charged with smuggling: ’Make a confession and your sentence will be significantly reduced’.
We found out later that almost all of them take this deal because then they get into the real jail faster, don’t have to wait for court proceedings, and instead of getting a maximum of 10 years, they just get 1-3 years. They offered it to me really often and also got mad or sad or sympathetic or whatever when I turned down this ’offer’."

Anything else you’d like to add?
"I’m really glad that I’ve dealt with the issues of jail and cops a lot before. A lot of people learn ’don’t say anything, don’t sign anything. then nothing will happen to you’. But it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. You really have to endure a lot for it, because it really pisses off the cops. I was also really surprised by what it did to me to be alone for so long and to think I was going to jail for 3 years. I thought a lot about whether I should say something. Whether I should take the deal. I was in the situations really often for that short time in there that I was either fully stable or I just wasn’t.
One thing that definitely made my time there easier was sports. Everyone says it and I hate it, but it’s true for me. It calmed me down. A little warm up, strength training, stretching and thus thinking about something else really helps a lot!"

Since Z. was arrested on charges of smuggling (Article 308(3) in conjunction with Article 20(2) Slovenian Criminal Code), her solidarity-group has done a lot of research and gathered information from other groups.-

In recent years, the laws in the so-called Slovenia have massively tightened, especially around Article 308 (support for illegealized people), which has now criminalized almost all support for PoM (People on the Move).
These tightenings were mainly driven by fascist and former defense minister and three-time prime minister Janez Janša. Janša is also known for his close collaboration with Hungarian fascist Viktor Orbán.-

The sentence for "smuggling" was raised from up to 5 years in prison to a minimum of 3 to 10 years in 2020. Even more, it was decided that any support of illegal stay for even one person will be punished with this sentence - until 2017, this sentence only applied to "smuggling" of 2 or more people.-

Not only these tightenings, but also the convening of an own highway police in 2021 and the expansion of all repressive organs led to the fact that in the so-called Slovenia an incredible number of people are in jail because of the accusation of "smuggling".-

In addition, there is also the highest rate of confessions on the charge of "smuggling". According to a lawyer, it is even over 90% of all defendants.
This is mainly due to the fact that the sentence is so high and all defendants are offered a mitigation in case of confession before the start of the lengthy court process. This reduces the sentence to 1-3 years imprisonment. The "sweetener" besides the (supposedly) shorter prison sentence: For defendants, the fear of having to wait for months in custody for the trial, to pay the enormous court costs, and then almost certainly to be put in jail for up to 10 years is eliminated.-

In so-called Slovenia, a large number of people are in jail on charges of smuggling. Most people have no Slovenian citizenship and often no support outside of prison, as their friends and families are hundreds of kilometers away.
For example, in Koper in 2019, 86% of all prisoners who do not have Slovenian citizenship were in jail on charges of smuggling.-

Under capitalism, it is obvious that people who are forced into precarity will do anything to get money. To somehow also get a piece of the pie. But the problem is not primarily the people who want to profit from the escape routes "blocked" by the EU. The problem is the EU and that it does not create safe escape routes. The problem is racist and patriarchal capitalism. The EU finances and wages wars, exploits people in the global south, and does everything it can to keep the problems it causes and exacerbates as far away as possible. Every person who takes the deadly path to Fortress Europe is one too many for the EU.-

It is absolutely necessary to create safe escape routes! The EU has space. The EU must make space for all the people who have to leave everything behind because of it. That is the absolute minimum!

There are countless examples of how People on the Move (PoM) are also still being overwhelmed with repression by various states. A few have met the right people or groups to publish the cases together. We want to summarize them briefly.

+439 years for the #Paros3+

After a boat accident on Dec. 24, 2021, near the Greek island of Paros in which 18 people died, 39-year-old Kheiraldin A. and 32-year-old Abdallah J. and Mohamad B. were arrested by Greek police. They were accused of steering the capsized boat and thus being responsible for the illegal entry of 59 people and the death of 18 people.

In a prolonged trial, many witnesses were heard, whose testimonies strongly exonerated the three defendants. But at the end of the trial, the Paros3 were sentenced to a total of 439 years in prison. The reason for this, according to the judges, was the assistance for illegal immigration and also the endangerment of all 59 inmates.
Kheiraldin was sentenced to 187 years in prison, Abdallah and Mohamad to 126 years each.

+18 years for H. Sabetara+

Sabetara was arrested in September 2021 in northeastern Greece and later sentenced to 18 years in prison for " smuggling " for driving a car with 7 other PoM.
He wanted to follow his family to Germany and saw no other option than to cross the Turkish-Greek border with the help of a smuggler. However, since he could not pay for the crossing himself, he decided to drive himself after crossing the border in order not to have to pay thousands of euros.

+50 years for the #Moria6+

After a large part of the refugee camp on the Greek island of Moria burned down in 2020, 6 PoM - including minors - were arrested and put in pre-trial detention. In the following absurd, amateurish trial, which took place under exclusion of the public, 4 of the 6 defendants were sentenced to 10 years in prison each, and the other two defendants to 5 years each. All this despite the fact that none of the 15 witnesses interviewed could identify even one of the defendants and there was no evidence whatsoever.

This trial was another arbitrary demonstration of power of the "EU peace project". The #Moria6 stand as symbolic scapegoats of Europe’s racist, deadly policy of exclusion.

+1.5 years probation for the #Samos2+

On the night of November 7, 2020, Hasan, N. and 22 other people, including their families, tried to reach Greece from Turkey in a small rubber boat. On the way, the boat capsized in the open sea. The Greek Coast Guard was informed of the emergency early on, but did not send out a rescue team. N.’s 6-year-old son was killed.

When Hasan and N. reached the Greek mainland, they were arrested immediately. N. was accused of being responsible for his son’s death. Hasan was accused of being a smuggler and thus bringing all 24 inmates to Greece. During the trial, the prosecution demanded a total prison sentence of 230 years.
On May 18, 2022, N. was acquitted. Hasan was sentenced to 1 year and 5 months probation.

+Terrorism accusation for the #ElHiblu3+

Three African youths have been accused of terrorism in Malta. They were part of a group of PoM who fled Libya on a rubber boat on March 26, 2019. The 108 people got into distress at sea and were rescued by the cargo ship El Hiblu 1. On the instructions of the EU military operation "Eunavfor Med", the crew attempted to return the rescued to Libya, where the PoM would have again faced years of imprisonment and torture.

The PoM protested against their deportation and convinced the crew of the El Hiblu 1 to go to Malta. Nevertheless, three PoM were arrested immediately after their arrival and have been in pre-trial detention ever since. They continue to stand trial on absurd charges and could end up in jail for countless years if convicted.

+Criminalization of sea rescue - #Iuventa-Crew+

After the ship of the Iuventa crew was seized in the Italian port of Trapani on August 2, 2017, the largest criminalization trial of sea rescue started.
In the still ongoing trial, a total of 21 doctors and sea rescuers are on trial, who rescued a total of 14,000 PoM in distress during missions of the Iuventa in 2016 and 2017 and brought them to the Italian coast.

They are accused of being part of a smuggling network. To date, there has been no acquittal or verdict in this insane trial. But one thing is clear: With this, the EU wants to criminalize solidarity support of PoM and make a deterrent example.

#freeall #noborder #nonation #acat #fightfortresseurope #abolishfrontex #leavenoonebehind #wirhabenplatz

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