Help us collect money for the asylum claim of our friend who has just been released from Petrou
Ralli migrant detention centre in Athens!
About the fundraising:
This fundraising is created by a group of friends of B., who on her initiative have created this fundraising to raise money for a lawyer to help her through her asylum process which will hopefully result in her being given leave to stay in Greece. Just like most migrants and refugees who do not have the right papers, B. was brutally incarcerated for months in the hellholes of the greek migrant prisons. B. was thrown into the infamous Petrou Ralli detention centre after getting arrested for defending herself with a knife against a man who threatened to rape her.
About B. and her current situation:
B. is an Iranian refugee who has been living in Athens since 2018. She fled the regime in Iran because of her LGBTQ-identity and the oppression and stigmatization she was facing in her society. Her wish was to live in a country where she could freely live and express her sexuality and identity. Upon her arrival in Greece, she had to continuously fight back and stand up against patriarchal violence, which she did in a strong and impressive manner. Unfortunately, she was raped twice during a party. After she was already raped twice, she ran into a friend of the rapist in the street who had previously threatened to rape her. During this encounter, he threatened that they would rape her again. She pulled a knife to defend herself, but the police arrived at the scene and arrested her for illegal possession of a knife. Once the police realized that she does not have legal documents to stay in Greece, they transferred her to Petrou Ralli migrant detention center, where she was imprisoned for several months. Petrou Ralli is known for its notoriously inhumane and harsh conditions, and we don’t believe that our friend, or anyone else, deserves to have their freedom taken from them because Fortress Europe does not consider people without the right documents to be human beings.
B’s history is unfortunately not unique, but similar to sufferings that non- males are experiencing globally every day. We cannot leave our friend in the hands of state repression, racism and patriarchal violence! We ask everyone to contribute with whatever they might be able to spare, so that B. can hopefully get the asylum she deserves.
In her own words, an account of the torture prison that is the migrant detention center in the Immigration Police station of Petrou Ralli:
From the very first day I was arrested, they destroyed my self-esteem. They didn’t want to touch me. They wouldn’t even touch my stuff to check it. They put gloves on saying to each other “don’t touch her she may have hepatitis or aids”. In the prison they gave us nothing, no blanket, no pillows, no beds, we were lying on the floor like corpses. They didn’t even give us the clothes that was brought to us from solidarity. Not even toilet paper. From the donations that come for us, the cops keep the good stuff, they give us the rest. They put gloves on to touch us women or people of color, saying we are sick. The cops are so racists, the prisoners suffer from this a lot. I was made into doing various chores as punishment either because they just didn't like me, or because I was shouting at the window to the solidarians who regularly organize gatherings outside the prison. I was making contact with the people outside and the cops don’t want this. Every time they close the windows and order the prisoners to move away. Once they dragged me down from the window by beating my legs and then forced me to clean the cops’ toilets as punishment. Another time they forced me to prepare the food for the men and when I tried to remove the cockroaches from the food they said “what are you doing, work faster, leave the roaches inside!”.
Potatoes, beans and plain pasta, that’s all I ate for three months. The food is so bad, the prisoners often get diarrhea. They play games with us, pit us against each other, force us to do chores for a reward of something sweet to eat. The food is so little, prisoners often fight each other over who will get the cleaning shift so that they get some biscuits. The only time they clean the prison or put chemicals for the roaches, is when the inspectors come from international authorities. When they come, the cops make everything look like its working fine. They take all the prisoners out to the yard, so we don't speak to the authorities. If anyone speaks about what it is really like, they will punish them after. Once I hid inside and when the inspectors came I showed them the moldy bread they had given us to eat that day. The cops threatened me that I would be kept longer because of what I did.
They play all kinds of psychological games with us. The guards of the night shift laugh out loud and shout so that we don't get to sleep. They don't let us go to the toilet at night, even prisoners with bladder problems. On Christmas we had a celebration between us and they came to stop it saying “what do you think you’re doing, Christmas is not for you, you are in prison.” They mock us at every chance, they play with the male prisoners’ sexual deprivation. They bring sweets to their offices or eat chocolate in front of us; we are not allowed chocolate. They don’t have any care whatsoever for the sick people. There was a diabetic woman with us, they never gave her the medicine on time and she would go crazy. Another with HIV, another who had lost her daughter and cried all the time and they never sent her to a psychologist.
I was led to harming myself, to try to commit suicide, only then did they sent me to a psychologist. When we show them the wounds from the bedbugs, they just say “its prison here, we can’t do anything”. In medical emergencies they send a doctor who will look at us from afar and then just say, “nothing is wrong with you”. No hot water, no heater all through the winter, but the cops they all have heaters in their offices. Once we put a blanket over the door to keep the cell warm and they came, took it away and joked “why it’s fine weather, you don’t need that.” They have no respect for women, especially the older ones...pregnant women are also imprisoned in the same conditions, they get the same diet as everyone else, pasta, beans, potatoes.
For the men, it is even worse. I need three books to talk about all this...One story that happened when I was there is that they tortured and raped men prisoners to punish them for a protest they had started. They complained about the food, they started a hunger strike. Nothing changed. The cops took out the prisoners one by one in the yard and beat them. Two of them they raped with their batons, one of them was 20 years old. The keep the men much longer, don’t take any care for their asylum process. They say “you got a choice, sign your deportation or stay in this prison for...indefinitely.” They give us papers to sign without any translation. If you refuse to sign it, maybe you stay there for many more months. One woman from Somalia who spoke no other language, she was afraid to sign it, she thought it was a deportation order. She never signed it and now she is still waiting there, in that prison, for nothing.
I got depressed, lost all motivation. When they told me I was free, I didn’t even have an interest to go out. Before I was a happy person, now I have no desires. They take away our humanity in there.