Greek (non) Justice?

Based on the discussion that was started on the mainpage by me, I would like to concentrate the discussion here.

As you know (or can read on the mianpage), a very close friend of mine was arrested for spying in Greece. He is a plane spotter, a hobby that is not well known in Greece (and many other countries it seems).

Plane Spotting is for some as normal as collecting stamps, baseball cards (or even Pokemon cards :wink: ) for others. The thrill of going after a special plane (be it military or commercial) and getting to see it for real, not from someone else’s picture…that is what it is all about. Some like to photograph the planes, others simply jot down the number of the plane, along with the date and place where the plane was spotted. They are not after construction plans or an extensive documentary of the technical instruments used inside the plane.

In the case of the 12 Britons and 2 Dutch people arrested in Greece they were specifically told not to take any photographs. As my friend told in a brief interview, they did not take any pictures of planes or buildings they were not allowed to photograph, they knew that was not allowed so they did not do so. The Greek magistrate has confirmed this, no incriminating evidence was found on the rolls of film that were developed by the Greek Intelligence Service (according to whom they had to send the roll to Switzerland to have it developed, thus stalling the trial for al least a week).

One of the spotters carried a scanner and was thus able to overhear conversations between pilots and the control tower. This was not a smart thing to do, considering the circumstances. But in the Netherlands it is not against the law to have a receiver, it is however illegal to have a device that can broadcast. In the light of their hobby, the judge should be lenient in this matter, he meant no harm.

As for Paul Coppin, who is a journalist for a Spotter’s Magazin (from what I understood) and was invited to a Turkish Air show, where he met a few high ranking officers/officials is looked upon with suspicious eyes, that I can understand considering the longlasting feud between Greece and Turkey. But this too should not be exaggerated as it is done now. It isn’t too uncommon for a journalist to be invited to an airshow and even meet officials of the organizing committee.

Through the eyes of the Western world, that is at least England and the Netherlands, the treatment, the way this case is dealt with is not in accordance with international laws. Over three weeks in prison without any charges being made. Over and over again the case is delayed and after three weeks, after certain elements of evidence have officially been acknowledged, the case was referred to a higher court…still without any charges being made.

As for the conditions in Greek prison…it is a prison, the purpose of a prison is to take one’s freedom away. That the conditions do not meet the standards of a 5 star hotel can be expected of course. But to have people sleep on concrete floors on a mattrass that isn’t even an inch thick, resulting in back pains for the prisoners, is inhumane. Greek is not known for its humane treatment in jails, judging from reports made by Amnesty International (27/10/2001: Greece: Inhuman prison conditions in Drapetsona, Athens).

As for interventions by various English and Dutch politicians, it is not their intention to order the judge to release them instantly, but they do care about their citizens and would like to expedite things.

I can even understand a little why the spotters were arrested, and I do not blame any of the Greek people, but I do blame the Greek authorities for delaying matters as they do. They seem afraid to lose face, they seem afraid of admitting they were wrong, they do not dare to take a stand and bring the group up for charges, which if at all, should be done on an individual basis, not as a whole group.

I would like to know what the rest of you thinks about this. I have read many replies already, for which I am thankful, the support is overwhelming and truly appreciated. But in this matter I am not completely without bias, so here you can reply without reservation and let me know whether you feel the Greek justice system is failing in this matter or not.

More information (and a lot of links to sites who have online articles on this matter) can be found at the support site that was set up by me: http://www.wijsbek.com/index-uk.html (Dutch).

Thanks very much for your replies!

From what I understood it is now the public prosecutor that stalls the whole proceedings. The prosecutor refuses to hand over the file to the comittee of three judges, thus making it impossible for the three judges to reach a conclusion (be it to charge one or all members or set them free).

Having read the above, it is there where an intervention of the Greek Minister of Justice should be focussing at. If that isn’t obstruction of justice, what is then?

It is a shame for the Greek people that their justice system is failing. A lot of people now resent the whole Greek system and everybody that lives in it, while it is the Greek authorities that mess things up.

It is perhaps not fair to say, but I can understand people resent the Greeks here, after all, it is their government that was democratically chosen that messes things up like they do now.

The fact that High politicians from UK and Netherlands have tried to mediate and the EU chairman has shown interest in this case wouldn’t make me one bit suprised if any regulatory measures are taken by either UK, Netherlands or even EU.

Set those spotters free, they meant no harm!

Hi there! My name is Antony and i live in Athens, Greece. I’d like to apologise on behalf of the greek officials for their behaviour. Still, times are rought noadays with all this terrorist acts and especially here in Greece we do have had some serious problems the last 30 yearswith a greek terrorist group called “17 November”. So it 'd be only fair to give our guys a small :wink: break regarding security measures. As for the particular hobby, it is not that popular here in Greece and you surely can easily how officials respond to ppl who have such hobbies, especially under such sircumstances.

I would like to say something in reply to those who claim Greece taughht the world democracy. Today I talked it over with a friend who is more knowledgeable on Greek history than I am and he explained to me that although Democracy was first introduced in Athens, it was at that time only open to the so called ‘Free men’.

Women and non-free men (slaves) were excluded of democracy. After democracy was ‘founded’ a Greek dictator ruled Athens for a period of time while still calling it democracy, it was in fact pure dictatorship.

As to the claim the Greek taught the world civilization, it is perhaps nice that our civilization perhaps started there, but what good does it do now if time stood still ever since? And it does seem that way when you look at the proceedings in this case.

Luckily I can not compare the actual circumstances from my own experience, but If I hear under what conditions they are being held in that Greek prison and compare it to the conditions in Dutch prison cells, where there was a big riot when they talked about sharing a prison cell with 2 persons, as where they are shared with 4 people in Greece…than I can not call the conditions of Greek prison cells very humane and civilized.

And considering all circumstances, it is the Greek people who have elected the current government, that government has the power to change the laws so they comply to international standards (though this is not for the short term, unfortunately in this case). So you can imagine that it is hard not to blame the Greek people for this mess they have created.

But, let’s not take it out on them (them being the greek ‘common’ people), but let’s take it out on the judicial system of Greece and especially the State Prosecutor at this time who refuses to hand over the files of this case to the judges so they can examine it (and most likely (hopefully at least) come to the conclusion there is nothing to charge them with).

Ugh Spoken I Have :wink:

I live in Greece so i am aware that the real problem in this case is the horrible bureaucrasy that exists here.It’s not the judges fault or the police it’s just the slow judicial system.
But i really think, that it’s not good to defame Greece just because your friend got wrongfully accussed.In this case you are being prejudiced.
As for Smart@$$, i would like to say that if he was smart he would judge Greece’s contribution to democrasy according to the conditions that held place at that time.While other countries at that time were living inside caves not knowing even how to speak, greek people were talking philosophy,science,art.The human rights were advanced at a great level ,according to the age.Or i don’t know ,maybe you are right and it was Dutch people that contributed much more to democrasy.

I am not saying that the Greek did not ‘invented’ democracy, or they were not one of the first to discuss philosophy, science, art and other stuff that we now consider civilized. But what good does the invention of something do when it is not developing over time?

What good is the the credit for inventing the steam engine when it is the only thing that country will use for the rest of its existance, while all other countries in the world (or at least those surrounding the inventing country, as is the case with Greece and EU) have developed greater technologies, fuel injection, turbo, computer aided control or cars using durable energy with no negative impact on the environment and still are practical too?

In this discussion one should not look as much to what a country has contributed in the past, but what it is contributing now. What is the current status of their legal system compared to other countries it is cooperating with, in this case mainly the EU.

And I am not saying it is all that great here in the Netherlands. here too there are enough things that should be different as far as democracy and civilization is concerned. But barbaric conditions as sleeping on concrete floors (or if one is lucky a thin mattrass of 1 inch thick) and jail cells occupied by up to 16 people is one thing you will not easily find in any other EU country, especially not in the Netherlands where there was a big riot when they wanted to share a prison cell with 2 people, instead of one prison cell for each prisoner. Jail should not be a 5 star luxury vacation, but the conditions described for Greek jail cells sound, to me, even before the Mediaeval’s.

One can say it is not fair to take one incident and take it out on the entire Greek system as I am doing, but is it not a single case that can point to the weaknesses in a system? Can not one hacker by a simple attempt expose the true vulnerabilities of an entire system? I think so and that is why it is good that this case gets all the media and political attention it is getting now, it will show to the world, including the Greek people (although they might not admit it) that their system is far from perfect and does, obviously, not comply with contemporary standards anymore.

Again, I am not taking this out on the Greek individuals, but it is the Greek individual, the voter, that can ultimately change things, turn things for the better. So hopefully we can make them aware of this and perhaps with the right guidance (or rolemodels) from the EU things can change for the better…after all, don’t we all want the best for ourselves and others?

[update]

Source: Ananova
By Greek standards, the case has progressed through the system relatively quickly, Zacharias said, noting that about one third of people jailed in Greece are in pre-trial detention.

This is crazy, people detained for so long without having had a trial yet…who dares calling that civilized…I would almost say, anything but civilized
[/update]

At first i would like to say that the ancient Greeks did not invent philosophy,art or science.Philosophy and art aren’t material things and noone can claim that he was the unique inventor of those.Saying that would be an exaggeration, because forms of art and science existed from the day man appeared on earth.

The importance of the ancient Greeks was that they pushed the boundaries to all forms of their activities and made inventions that can be appreciated diachronically.Ideals and philosophy are things that can be forgotten from time to time and surely can’t be assimilated and compared to the invention of the stream engine, which is a none returning circle.What i mean is that people don’t use the stream engine anymore(if they live in a modern country) , but they sure use old ideals good or bad.

As for our age ,i don’t see any countries that really contribute much to the modern man’s need for a better world ,with ideals that will show the way for a better and more peacefull future.What i see , is wars that are justified with the excuse that the opponents are bad and evil.

Also i don’t think , that what the modern man needs from the future is better cars,engines or computers that will show that he
is civillized.

I’m not saying that Greece is contributing much in our days,that’s obvious, but that doesn’t mean we are barbarians as you describe us by using some isolated examples.Not all prisons here in Greece are as awful as they are described,most of them are in a good level and the human rights are being respected generally by the Greek people and goverment.

Also we do not live in caves as many people think (even if they don’t even know ,where is Greece )! And we are part of the EU because we respect the human rights (and respected them before we joined the EU!!) , or else we wouldn’t be accepted.

But ,i must agree with your opinion that each indinidual can contribute and change things to better, or else he must take a part of the blame of things to come.Of course that doesn’t stand only for Greek people , but for everyone in the planet.If people don’t make their move nothing is going to change,because politians are depanded by the voters.

Finally, i must say that the problem in this case is the millitary related cause of imprisonement.Everywhere in the world millitary bases are heavily guarded ,so that they are inaccesible and photos are not allowed to be taken.The goverment laws are more sensitive when it comes to the defence of the country.Don’t tell me that you would be allowed to be plane-spot near the pentagon(USA) for example! Especially ,after the events that happened in NY in September 11th, the security measures are doubled everywhere in the world and pressure from tha US is being given to all the EU countries to that point.

Hi,
i am greek as well studying currently in the Uk.I am aware of this situation but not in as much detail.From my point of view i have heard that these people were warned several times about their act.Greece is and always was a civilised country known especially for its welcoming people especially to foreigns.I dont think these people were arrested for no reason.And the situation about the situation on prisons you discribe i was never aware or heard about anything…I believe the media once again are exaggerating facts etc…
BTW here in the Uk all i have heard from the news is the relatives giving blame to Tony Blair for not taking any action in this…Now doesnt this sound strange?I also heard that there was a meeting of his with a greek politician where he never mentioned anything on this matter.Isnt that strange as well?I believe something is going on behind all this…
And please lets not start a war about greeks contribution to the humanity as i have many examples believe me of greek scientist working for big projects-discoveries arround the world.

Well to close this thread. I agree that beraucracy here in Greece may sometimes do things more difficult. But with all that happened these days and a war not far away from us what you expected? The Greek authorities leave anyone to reach or enter to an airport base with nothing to do? I agree that type of hobby not popular here in Greece, and if they had that type of hobby those people who arested , they could visit any airport base here in Greece at the middle of Octomber, when all airports are open for the public for 15 days. They allowed to take photos, even they had free flight for the visitors with different kind of airplanes, F-16 or Mirage-2000. But the time these people captured was the time when a war was in progress, the authorities were alarmed to take any precaution they could, and ofcource after these people captured greek beraucracy make things little more difficult.

AND YES GREEK IS THE COUNTRY WHERE DEMOCRACY WITH BY ALL MEANS BORNED. GREEK IS THE COUNTRY WHERE JUSTICE BORNED

And to answer to what smarta$$ wrote:
A visit to the below link can solve any questions about Greek democracy and Justice from ancient years till today.

GREEK DEMOCRACY

AND I HAVE A QUESTION: IF someone went to aniother country these days enter to an airport base just to do his hobby, what whould be the treatment from the authorities from this country?

SORRY IF I SOUND LITTLE ANGRY IN THIS MESSAGE, BUT HATE WHEN YOU ALL ACCUSED MY COUNTRY WITHOUT EVIDENCE, WITHOUT KNOW THE SITUATION EXCACTLY, AND WITH NO RESPECT TO WHAT MY COUNTRY OFFER TO DEMOCRACY JUSTICE AND SIENCE.

LET THE GREEK JUSTICE DO IT’S JOB AND I AM SURE IF YOUR FRIENDS ARE INOCENT THEY’LL BE FREE SOON.

My friend will be released on bail later today.

As for the accusation to get my facts straight, maybe you should read up on all the facts. I get my facts pretty much from first hand (and it doesn’t really suprise me that some press get it wrong still)

[list=1]
[li] they have a written invitation to attend the airshow that day
[/li][li] there were no pictures taken that day (this was already confirmed after they had the rolls of film developed by the magistrate)
[/li][li]they had called ahead after the 11th of September to make sure it was still alright for them to come over
[/li][/list=1]
Those are the main facts in this story that are constantly overlooked by most people.

And yes, as I said before, I can even understand it a little that they were arrested, but the whole judicial process is slow and one can wonder (many people have) whether this treatment is in accordance with international human rights.

As to your statement that Greek invented Justice or Democracy, I will quote Smart@$$:

What good is the the credit for inventing the steam engine when it is the only thing that country will use for the rest of its existance, while all other countries in the world (or at least those surrounding the inventing country, as is the case with Greece and EU) have developed greater technologies, fuel injection, turbo, computer aided control or cars using durable energy with no negative impact on the environment and still are practical too?

In this discussion one should not look as much to what a country has contributed in the past, but what it is contributing now. What is the current status of their legal system compared to other countries it is cooperating with, in this case mainly the EU.

I don’t have a grudge against the Greek people, but the judicial system is far far far from perfect

Just heard the news they will not be released today…

WHy not you ask?

Wel because their burocratic system requires a signature of a particular person and he seems to be out of the office today…

Far from the time when regular business day is over they are not capable to handle such act as a simple release on bail after the panel of three judges has finally ruled they should be released on bail!

Sorry, but this is getting way too absurd for me…

It is hard for me to not to take this out on the Greek in general, but don’t expect me to walk into a Greek restaurant for the next couple of years…

Well smarta$$ we never have nothing against people. And tell me you in your country you can enter in any base without no one stop yopu or arest you? And these days?
At least here in Greece we never try to involved in others counties matters and Greek people are most hospital people in the world. Even the word HOSPITALITY comes out from a Greek work.

Originally posted by biggeo
At least here in Greece we never try to involved in others counties matters…
And what’s the deal with Turkey then?

…and Greek people are most hospital people in the world…
Now that’s just a matter of opinion, isn’t it?

This reminds of Kevin Mitnick. He was jailed for a little over 4 years with no bail hearing, no charges brought up against him and last year his case finally went to trial.

Must’ve been terrible for that guy… He’s out again, but he’s prohibited to use any computer, cash register, mobile phone etc for the next I-don’t-know-how-many years. And that, my friends, sucks the sweat off a deadman’s balls, to put it bluntly.

And what’s the deal with Turkey then?
azrae
l

Well, you must not heard the news. We’re not involved in Turkey’s national matters, Turkey involved to Greek national sumbjects, by not recognize our rights to Aegean sea, as they come from international laws, and a judgment of INTERNATIONAL CURT OF HAGI, and by have Cyprus under possesion for over 27 years now.
And Turkey violate the FIR of ATHENS.

Now that’s just a matter of opinion, isn’t it?

Well yes, but when this oppinion comes out of a mouth of over 10 million people visit my country the last 10 year, then it’s not just an oppinion, it’s a fact.

…whatever…

Regardless of the Bail hearing, this Mitnick guy has officially been charged with something, there was enough evidence to charge him and pending a trial to detain him.

As said, the plane-spotters were being detained without any charges brought against them…

It seems that in Greece you can accuse someone of committing a crime and when there is a reasonable susupicion it could be true the person is thrown in jail and has to wait almost a year (that is the maximum term in greece) for a hearing where will be determined whether charges are brought against that person.

As soon as there are charges brought against you you know what you are facing and what you have to fight. Depending on the seriousness of the charges a bail hearing will be set or not.

As for the hospitality of Greek people, as said, it is nothing against the Greek common people, but this whole thing does prove however the state of the judicial system of Greece. One cannot, at least not one who is sound of mind, state that this is justice, where one is considered guilty until proven innocent.

Apparently there were some people who at some point in time felt Greece could be allowed to enter the European Union, but judging from what has happened in this case, the stone age mentality of the justice system, I think this should be seriously reconsidered.

Here in the Netherlands we are expected to live up to all standards laid out by the European Union, we are relatively spoken one of the largest net contributors to the European Union and we are cut no slack whatsoever, why would the EU look the other way when human right are so blatantly violated in this case?

All I hear in this case is how (ancient) Greece has invented democracy and justice and is known for its hospitality. Perhaps it is like that, perhaps they did invent democracy, perhaps they were the first to have a justice system at all, but look what it has come to in this day and age? It looks like it has hardly developed over time, whereas all other western countries have adapted to the contemporary situation.

Here in the Netherlands we were the first to have a stock market, the first to have company with shares that were held and marketed publicly, so in a way we were the inventors of the present stock markets…but do we blow our own horn for that? No, although we now and then like to stand still with great accomplishments from the past we realize that we are living in the present, not in the past. We are trying to live up to the expectations of the present, trying to maintain our position compared to other countries surrounding us, not dwell on the past.

Greece should realise this as well and raise its head an look around. Live up to the present, instead of dwelling in the past. I’d say:
Greece, shape up or ship out!

It seems that in Greece you can accuse someone of committing a crime and when there is a reasonable susupicion it could be true the person is thrown in jail and has to wait almost a year (that is the maximum term in greece) for a hearing where will be determined whether charges are brought against that person.

Well as you can read they didn’t stay in jail over a yer. You can talk like this cause you live in an area that nothing happenes. Aegean and Mediterenean seas are the most unstable places in Europe. Under these sircumnstances think we do the best.
I know that sometimes beraucracy here in Greece make things more complicated than really are.

Apparently there were some people who at some point in time felt Greece could be allowed to enter the European Union, but judging from what has happened in this case, the stone age mentality of the justice system, I think this should be seriously reconsidered.

Well, if a country deserve to be a member of the European Union that’s Greece cause even the name of Europe is Greek name.
As I said beraucracy do make things more difficult here, but consider the place we leave tha’s normal.

Here in the Netherlands we are expected to live up to all standards laid out by the European Union, we are relatively spoken one of the largest net contributors to the European Union and we are cut no slack whatsoever, why would the EU look the other way when human right are so blatantly violated in this case?

What Humans right violated? You can enter in any army base there on your country without anyone said nothing?

Here in the Netherlands we were the first to have a stock market, the first to have company with shares that were held and marketed publicly, so in a way we were the inventors of the present stock markets…but do we blow our own horn for that?

Well first stock market was in China about 3500 years ago.

Greece should realise this as well and raise its head an look around. Live up to the present, instead of dwelling in the past.

We live in present but we’re thankfull for our past cause that past make us have a present. If not the ancient world like we know , Latins, Greek Egyptians, then should be no present for Europe.

We all ship in in to what that ancient people create. So you’re not the most apropriate person to talk who must ship out from what we call today Europian Union.

And as I said your country sourounding by countries members of the European Union. We live in most unstable area. So we act according the sircumstances, with best way we can. If your country has the same problem maybe act worse. We still have problems with Turkey, but we are hospital, to Tourkey and other mouslims who left their country and come in Greece.
And we act the best way we can according to where we live.

At least we have a tradition and a history to bright our way to the future. We’re not perfect, many things must change, but for the one thing someone can’t accuse us is for no justice. Cause justice work prety well here.

First off: I don’t have any problems with Greece personally.

I do have problems with your reasoning:

Even the word HOSPITALITY comes out from a Greek work.

Well yes, but when this oppinion comes out of a mouth of over 10 million people visit my country the last 10 year, then it’s not just an oppinion, it’s a fact.
And thus your country is the most hospitable country in the entire world. This is not in the least shortsighted. To make such a statement you must at least have been to every other country (for comparison).

Well, if a country deserve to be a member of the European Union that’s Greece cause even the name of Europe is Greek name.
So? Apartheid is a Dutch word. But we don’t practice it! The etymology of a certain word does not give you any rights whatsoever!