Sexual abuse plagues Petrou Ralli amid further oppression of detainees
The pre-removal Aliens’ detention center of Attiki, in Tavros (Petrou Ralli), once again comes under the spotlight as a quagmire of sexual abuse for detained women.
On Saturday 25/7, a new prisoner in P.R. needed to go down to the infirmary section for her regular insulin injection. While a policewoman was accompanying her there, another male officer offered to take her down instead. The officer was a man called Dimitris who is well-known as a rapist in the detention center and has been named in previous accounts of assault from women detainees. Outside the infirmary, the woman was harassed by five officers. Finally, she was transferred by Dimitris to the garage, instead of the 3rd floor, with the elevator, where he attempted to rape her and she resisted.
Neither the infirmary or garage in the hellhole of P.R. have any security cameras. This also applies to the kitchen, which until the beginning of this year was known among the prisoners as a site for sexual abuse. C. P., in a letter published by the feminist group, The House of Women for Empowerment & Emancipation, reported that “under the pretext of food distribution, they touch and harass the women” (https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1602873/ - https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1602915/). She also gave the names of the abusive officers, including Dimitris and two others: Andreas and Giorgos. Since the kitchen ceased to be an option for assaults as officers stopped taking women there for food, it has been replaced by new locations. Another woman, ex-prisoner, M. R., who had to go to the exam room regularly, for health reasons, reported that a male officer would try to get close and touch her. Based on information from the prisoners who know the man’s face and body type, the assaulting officer was Andreas. As the guards do not wear their badge numbers, however, women detainees cannot identify them as sexual offenders.
It is important to clarify this: we call any police officer who exploits their position of authority and women’s condition of imprisonment for sexual gain a rapist. Incidents of sexual harassment and abuse are not isolated events, but standard practice inside the jail of P. R. The locations where they are committed are not random, but carefully selected. Added to all this are the almost daily sexist comments and looks that the imprisoned women are subjected to by guards.
On Friday 31/7, the above-assaulted woman consulted a lawyer about the possibility of a lawsuit to protect herself and other women, believing that justice should be served. The officers understood what she was about to do from the security cameras in the visiting rooms.
On Saturday 1/8, the Department of Administrative Affairs was called by senior members of P.R. to investigate the incident. They were very alarmed on this occasion as the whole police and administrative structure is complicit in abuse through their silence.
On Monday 3/8, without any warning, police officers came in while the women were having lunch and told them that within ten minutes, they must empty their cells and collect their belongings because they would be transferred. The women's wing of P. R. was emptied and the imprisoned women were taken to another detention center, Amygdaleza. At the new center, there has until now been no provision of special dietary needs for prisoners suffering from diabetes or chronic gastrointestinal problems, thereby endangering their health.
It is not yet possible after such a short time to give a full assessment of this move on the part of the P.R. administration and state apparatus. The practice, however, of isolating and erasing migrants from public view is not new. This is why we must find ways to connect and stand against the structures that aim to defeat our common daily struggles.
HANDS OFF MIGRANTS
SMASH THE STATE
WE WILL NOT TOLERATE RAPE
NOT IN DETENTION CENTERS, CONCENTRATION CAMPS
TEAR DOWN THE BORDERS & THE PANDEMIC OF HETEROPATRIARCHY
SOLIDARIANS for Petrou Ralli
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