by Alkis Alexandrinos
Maltreatment and abuse of detainees and arrested persons even after being immobilised with handcuffs or while in custody in police stations… Not in Iran, not in Guantanamo but in the late democracy of Greece, in 2013… Not an exception, but what seems an increasingly common police practice against foreign migrants, tourists that have the wrong skin colour and political dissidents. For the latter, the special treatment by the police officers in some cases included also torture. The Greek government has taken since its inauguration eight months ago a far-right turn in police tactics with an increasingly oppressive stance against migrants, squatters, protesters, anarchists, strikers and trade unionists. The controversial Minister of Order, Mr Dendias, who has the full backing of the Prime Minister Samaras, denies any allegations for torture of detainees and dismisses any reports for maltreatment of migrants, protesters or tourists as “isolated incidents”. He threatened to sue the British newspaper Guardian for slander, when it revealed a story for the mistreatment and torture of 15 antifascist protesters last October, while they were held in the Police Headquarters in Athens. Mr Dendias never sued the newspaper at the end, since the coroners’ reports that came out later that month confirmed the torture allegations. The Greek police was never famous for professionalism or soft tactics, but recently reports for racist and far-right circles within its ranks as well as incidents of police brutality against specific groups, namely foreign migrants and political dissidents, have been on the rise. At the same time, in the few cases when members of the elite are arrested for white-collar crimes of millions of euros or (even more rarely) when supporters of the neonazi party Golden Dawn are arrested for beatings or killings of migrants, their rights while arrested are respected. The two smaller partners of the three-party coalition Government, the Socialists (PASOK) and the Democratic Left (DIMAR), have not disassociated themselves from the far-right path that Mr Dendias and Mr Samaras are sliding into and continue to fully back up the government. It appears that Dendias-Samaras have an agenda to demonstrate tough stance on migrants, strikers and political dissidents, so that they appeal to the voters and sympathizers of the neo-nazi party Golden Dawn, that reaches 10% in the recent opinion polls. But even more than that, this is a demonstration of mighty power, tight control of the state (and thus the economy), so that they impose the memorandum austerity packages as the only option for Greece and deter any dissent, economic demand or social and political mobilisation. Of course, in order to pursuit this agenda, that increasingly resembles a totalitarian capitalist regime rather than a traditional liberal democracy, the human rights become expendable, whether civil, political, social or workers ones. At the same time, they blame the main opposition party, the SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), for supporting the “lawlessness”, by backing the workers struggles, the strikes, the protests and the self-managed squatters movements.