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Greece
07.08.19
Urgent Interventions

Judicial harassment against Mr. Panayote Dimitras

CASE GRE 070819

HUMAN RIGHTSDEFENDERS

Judicial Harassment




The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT),requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Greece.

Description of the situation:

TheInternational Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Greek HelsinkiMonitor (GHM) about the ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Panayote Dimitras, GHM Spokespersonand a member of OMCT's General Assembly.

According to the information received, Mr. PanayoteDimitras is facing accusations of embezzlement and concealment of facts in twodifferent cases of judicial harassment.

In the first case of judicial harassment Mr. Dimitrashas been referred to trial for embezzlement/illicit appropriation. The trialhas been postponed twice and is currently scheduled for September 16, 2019,before the 10th Single-Judge Misdemeanors Court of Athens. The accusationagainst him is related to two cases[1]against Greece before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which weresupported by the GHM in accordance with the terms and conditionsof a power of attorney signed between Spyridon Panagioteas and PanayoteDimitras.

Theprosecutor’s accusation charges Mr. Panayote Dimitras with having illicitlyappropriated in May 2016 the compensations awarded by the ECtHR judgments ofOctober 4, 2016, and April 7, 2016. However, in May 2016, the firstcompensation was manifestly not yet awarded, while the second compensation hadnot been debited at that time to the GHM bank account as established in thepower of attorney.

According tothe same information, the judicial process so far has lacked the minimumnational and international standards of fair trial and due process.

First, thereis a violation of the ne bis in idem principle, since another case file basedon the same allegations by Mr. Panagioteas through two other letters datedFebruary 20 and 21, 2018, had already been archived on April 15, 2018,following a preliminary investigation. The investigation had concluded thatPanayote Dimitras did not appropriate illicitly the compensations awarded bythe ECtHR following the applications submitted on behalf of the plaintiff, asthe sums were deposited on the basis of a legal power of attorney in the NGOaccount and on the basis of the 456/2017 judgment of the Magistrate Court ofAthens according to which there is a provisional seizure of all assets of theplaintiff up to 20,000 euros. When the prosecutor decided to refer Mr. Dimitrasto trial on July 30, 2018, she was aware of these decisions that had beensubmitted by Mr. Dimitras.

Secondly,the request by Mr. Panayote Dimitras to be allowed to make a statement duringthe preliminary investigation in this case to be able to react to Mr.Panagioteas's allegations was rejected by the prosecutor.

Finally, despite the allegations of forgery ofdocuments that was brought forward by the claimant, who argued the agreement touse GHM's account to receive any potential compensation was not part of thepower of attorney he had signed, the prosecutor’s office did not come up withforgery accusations against Mr. Panayote Dimitras, but decided to accuse him of embezzlement.

The second case[2]of judicial harassment against Mr. Panayote Dimitras also relates to his humanrights activities. In one of the cases on racist incidents on which GHM filed acomplaint, there was reference to an investigative article, which was availablein the public domain[3].On the basis of this publication, on February 2, 2018, the Naval CourtProsecutor asked the Athens First Instance Prosecutor to file a complaint fordisobedience against Mr. Panayote Dimitras, accusing him of concealment offacts, due to the fact that he had not provided detailed information on thecase. It is worth noting that Mr. Panayote Dimitras had repeatedly stated thatthere was no further detailed information in his possession apart from theinvestigative article. However, the request by the Naval Court Prosecutorbecame a basis for initiating a preliminary investigation, which is now pendingfor evaluation of the Athens’ First Instance Prosecutor.

The International Secretariat of OMCT recalls that this not the first timethat ungrounded cases are being brought against Mr. Panayote Dimitras,recalling the case of alleged perjury in 2014, which was later dropped[4].

TheInternational Secretariat of OMCT highlights that the situation of human rightsdefenders in Greece has been critical for years. Human rights defenders areconsistently targeted for their legitimate work and face different types ofattacks, surveillance, arbitrary arrests, detentions, ill-treatment, entry bansand expulsion[5].

TheInternational Secretariat of OMCT expresses its deep concern for the judicialharassment against Mr. Panayote Dimitras and for the violations to his right todue process and urges the Greek authorities to conduct an impartial andtransparent investigation into the above-mentioned cases with a respect of dueprocess.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Greece asking themto:

i. Put an end to any kind ofharassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. PanayoteDimitras and more generally against all human rights defenders in Greece;

ii. In the meantime,guarantee Mr. PanayoeDimitras’ right to due process and fair trial,as protected under international law;

iii. Complywith all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, inparticular with its Articles 12(2) and 13;

iv. Ensurein all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and withinternational human rights instruments ratified by Greece.

Addresses:

· PrimeMinister of Greece, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Email: mail@primeminister.gr

· Ministerof Justice Mr. KonstantinosTsiaras Email: grammateia@justice.gov.gr

· GeneralSecretary for Justice and Human Rights, Mr. Panos Alexandis Email:ggdad@justice.gov.gr

· PermanentRepresentative of Greece, Ms Anna Korka, Permanent Mission of Greece to theUnited Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 732 21 50; Email: grdel.gva@mfa.gr

· Ambassadorof Greece, H.E. Eleftheria Galathianaki, Embassy of Greece in Brussels,Belgium, Fax: (+32) 2 545 5585, Email: gremb.bru@mfa.gr

· PermanentRepresentative of Greece, H.E. Andreas Papastavrou, Permanent Representation tothe European Union (EU), Fax: +32 2 5515651, 5127912
Email:
mea.bruxelles@rp-greece.be

Please also write to the diplomaticrepresentations of Greece in your respective countries.

***

Geneva – Brussels, August7, 2019

Kindly inform us ofany action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

Created in 1985, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is themain coalition of nongovernmental organisations (NGO) fighting against torture,summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman ordegrading treatment, as well as for the protection of human rights defenders.With more than 200 affiliated organisations in its SOS-Torture Network, OMCTaims at accompanying, reinforcing and protecting anti-torture organisations in particularin erosive environments and provides a comprehensive system of support and protectionfor human rights defenders around the world.


[1] Panagioteasvs Greece Application No. 36672/12 and Kyraikou and Panagioteas vs Greece ApplicationNo. 34828/10 and 11674/11. Both cases concerned excessive length of legalproceedings involving Panagioteas.

[2] The case described the shooting of a migrant vessel,which was approaching the border guard patrol ship. As a result, several peoplewere badly wounded. It is described as an unprovoked attack and a use ofexcessive force by the border guards. The details of the investigation of thementioned case also revealed the deep-rooted issues of concealing the facts ofviolence and use of force by the border guards and despite the investigationbeing initiated, later on the case was closed and no border guard was pleadedguilty.

[3] The Intercept, SHOOT FIRST Coast Guard Fired atMigrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show, Published on August 22,2016. Available here: https://theintercept.com/2016/08/22/coast-guard-fired-at-migrant-boats-european-border-agency-documents-show/

[4] See OMCT Urgent Appeal, Greece: Ongoing judicialharassment against human rights defender Mr. Panayote Dimitras, Available here:http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/greece/2014/01/d22535/

[5] See OMCT’sWritten Submission to the 35th Session of the United Nations Human RightsCouncil on the situation of minority rights defenders in Greece of May 25,2017. @font-face { font-family: "Arial";}@font-face { font-family: "Courier New";}@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings";}@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math";}@font-face { font-family: "PMingLiU";}@font-face { font-family: "MS Mincho";}@font-face { font-family: "Arial Narrow";}@font-face { font-family: "Arial Unicode MS";}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Courier; }p.MsoFootnoteText, li.MsoFootnoteText, div.MsoFootnoteText { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }span.MsoFootnoteReference { vertical-align: super; }a:link, span.MsoHyperlink { color: blue; text-decoration: underline; }a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color: purple; text-decoration: underline; }p { margin-right: 0cm; margin-left: 0cm; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Arial Unicode MS"; }p.MsoNoSpacing, li.MsoNoSpacing, div.MsoNoSpacing { margin-right: 0cm; margin-left: 0cm; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Courier; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Courier; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Courier; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Courier; }p.En-tt, li.En-tt, div.En-tt { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Courier; }p.Piedd, li.Piedd, div.Piedd { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: Courier; }span.NotedebasdepageCar { }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; }

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