About the case of Polikarpos Georgiadis and Vagelis Hrisohoidis

Anti-authoritarians Polikarpos Georgiadis and Vagelis Hrisohoidis have been in prison since August 2008, accused of participation in the case of the kidnapping of a big industrialist, Giorgos Milonas in Thessaloniki. The comrades refuse any participation in the abduction, but state their solidarity and defend their relationship with a hunted person that is characterized by his dignity, the fugitive Vasilis Palaiokostas who is accused for the same case. In February 2010 they were sentenced in the first degree to 22 years.

After two postponements (March 9th, 2011, February 14th, 2012) the second appeal court starts on April 24th, 2012. The final outcome was that both comrades had their sentences reduced to 12 years and 10 months.

While the two comrades, being imprisoned since august 2008, have already purged 1/5 of their penalty since May 2012, and the appeal court for the case of the kidnapping of Mylonas ended on the same month, none of the requests of Polykarpos Georgiadis for leave have been accepted. The first apply was done on June 2012. On August 2012, he reiterates his request, receiving the same negative answer. The comrade takes the case to the judicial council of Kerkyra, where his request is again rejected, based on the justification that he was a fugitive before his arrest, which is not true. The fourth time, on January 2013, the answer is still negative, but this time the formal justification is that he might make wrong use of his leave, and  the informal one is that the state is afraid that he might participate in illegal political actions, since the political ambience is quite tensed (referring to the period of great repression against squats in Greece). Finally, on April 2013, after his fifth request, Polykarpos gets his first leave.

The comrades Vagellis and Polykarpos got released in August and September of 2013 respectively.

-Did someone speak of kidnapping?

 Court statement by Polykarpos Georgiadis – February 2010

Excerpts from Yiannis Dimitrakis’ statement to court- June 2007

[… Different questions have been raised, like the question of social robbery, what motives and what characteristics a robbery might have in order for us to characterize it as social and the biggest weight from what I can see falls on this: what are the motives for a robbery.

As you know and as has already become known I am an anarchist. As a consequence I have a particular political understanding and I also, as many others have said, place the role of the bank as especially guilty within our society. I consider the bank to play a significant role in economic affairs. It has been shown to act as a modern feudal lord, it has enslaved the great majority of workers, who due to economic weakness are forced to resort to banks in order to make ends meet or in any way so that they can also acquire the self-evident, a house which has become an elusive dream. This is what society has accomplished that a house for a worker is a dream which he/she will have to repay for 30 years.

On the television the largest part of what we watch constitutes advertisements for those who these gentlemen here are defending (he points to the lawyers of the bank). They brainwash the citizens of this country and in general this is the standard tactic carried out by the banks. Their background (of the ads) are people going to a bank to find a refuge. The incidents are not rare, we have even heard of people committing suicide, people that don’t have the money to pay and we have tragedies with households that are forced to the ultimate humiliation. That is, we came here to discuss what is self-evident? Whether a bank is sympathetic towards society or not? […]

Of course I have no illusions that by my action I would be able to abolish the existence of banks. I would be stupid or with my head in the clouds if I thought I could abolish banks by me robbing one. That is self-evident. On whether there are anarchist theoreticians  or whether incidents such as this have existed before through the years let us not bring here literature to see which people have supported such political ideas on whether we can commit a robbery and to what extent this is acceptable.

Also the question of selfishness and selflessness has been raised in regards to the money and what you do with it. I believe that it has become understood, and this is what I also intended on doing, that it is not a matter of acquiring riches. It is not a matter of me going around in a Ferari or popping over to the Bahamas to have a drink. This is self-evident. And to set it out in a few words, it is definitely refusal of work, in the way it is carried out today. In other words, I refuse truly to partake in such life imprisonment. I refuse to leave the years from 20 to 60-65 years of age, I refuse to leave them in the hands of a capitalist who will define me as the exploited. I refuse truly to do this. Of course I don’t underestimate the whole of society, which accepts this condition. Its largest part consists of the exploited. Let us not open such self-evident questions, that our society is divided into the exploiters and the exploited. Of course I don’t underestimate society. But me as an anarchist and with the particular characteristics I have as a human being, I am maybe particularly disobedient, maybe insubordinate, I don’t carry out orders. I don’t know maybe for others this is reproachable, for me it isn’t. I, as an anarchist am self-defined within society and as a role: neither exploiter nor exploited. I could never finish my university decree and become a superintendent, have workers under my supervision and earn a salary of 1500 euros while the worker earns 500 euros. I can’t understand something like that. I can’t understand what these privileges that place me above other people are. And I considered my action as an action of attack against this predatory system. Of course a very uneven attack, as it was proven. I chose to meddle with a system that crushed me in a military sense, as my soul and my mind at least cannot be crushed by anything.

In regards to the “selfish and non-selfish act”, since it has been mentioned often here. I perceive, view and name my action as this, as a revolutionary action. Amongst all those things that I have been doing for years, this was also one in an individual context. Anyway, I am an anarchist and as you can understand this milieu has many needs, although I can’t be precise in what amount I would have provided. I can’t say that I would have been a Robin Hood. We have reached now a moment where we are also opening our soul here… I have no illusions that I would have been a Robin Hood. I am also a human being who moves in this system and I would have definitely taken part of that money for myself, but only to the point of being able to live a life were my basic needs are covered for and that gives me the ability to be able to involve myself more with this milieu and the problems that our society has to face, without being burdened by work. Because if you want we can go to a factory and ask how many workers can join a strike in the private sector, how many workers would like to strike but can’t, because they have made their compromises. They can’t. How can they strike when they know that the next day they might be fired? It’s a form of terrorism.

You say here that the bank robber terrorizes. In my case an attempt was made to try and avoid that as much as possible. For people not to be so scared. That’s what I think. I don’t know about other bank robberies, they don’t have to do with me and I do not take a position on them. In regards to terrorizing I would like to ask them…I should have gotten up and asked one of the women or men who were in the bank to what extent their income ensures them a good life, if they have children and how would they feel if after 15 years of service they were fired. That is, what would terrorize them more? What if they were fired and rendered unemployed, chasing a few euros by becoming cleaners or looking for a day’s wage after 15 years? Because anyway bank employees are not in an ideal environment. I remember shortly before I robbed the bank there were mobilizations by OTOE (bank employees syndicate). I definitely scared these people and that is the only thing for which I could offer them an apology, but it is the only thing that you can’t prevent. I definitely would have much more preferred to scare the political rulers or the privileged or the oligarchy in this country and not ms x or y working at this cashier’s desk or that cashier’s desk, the customer, the citizen that appears, him who runs and panics because he doesn’t know what is going on. But I would like them to answer this: a visit by some bank robbers would terrorize them more? Or if it was announced to them that they are fired after 15 years, without having a pension, receiving only some small compensation and being thrown in the waste bin?

Coming back to the question of selflessness and selfishness which I have left in the middle, I view an action like this as being in some ways revolutionary, I don’t think it has humble motives, at least in my case. This logic of selflessness however has for me connotations of the ideology of a victim. That is, I understand that everyone would prefer a guise where the robber does it in order to give to the poor, a form of victimology, an extreme altruism where the robber is completely selfless. However I do view that there is some such disposition. Generally in a revolutionary action there is such a disposition and selflessness exists. The individual ego is that which, according to the elements of one’s character and the level of consciousness that exists within the subject, will add within society the reflection towards something widely positive. In my case, let’s say, since I am also active and I supposedly have some social awareness –unless you also want to deprive this of me- I believe some money would go towards a good cause. This is for me indisputable. Indisputable. […].

By protecting the bank’s interests you do not protect the peoples’ interests. Let’s not loose our minds completely. The wealth amassed by the bank with the thousands of machinations it commits, with its application of additional illegal interests, with Tiresias (data-base of financial behaviour- black-list). It has condemned whole families, people are going crazy out there, they don’t know what to do. Two million Greeks have been said to be below the poverty line and others are struggling with their credit cards and we have debt transfers from one bank to the other. Soon the debts will be transferred to the children and thus we will return to feudalism. Banks will play the role of feudal lords and we will have ready-made workers. A parent will have children who will be potential slaves, they will have to take on the debt. Because the loan they have taken out cannot be repaid. It has a stage payment of 60 years. The father dies and the child inherits it. We will also reach this point since we have already started with debt transfers from bank to bank… And in any case am I the enemy of society, I have to be arrested, I have to take bullets, I have to be in prison, I have to be reintegrated as if I am an estranged part of society. I am a fighting part and so I will remain. That in regards to the motives of the robbery.

[…] For me, the bank is a nebulous construction, completely faceless. We don’t know who these gentlemen are, we have never seen them. And if we see them they will have 8 jaws and a fin!

Letter from Yiannis Dimitrakis

This letter is my first attempt to communicate and comment on the events that took place and I experienced due to my participation in the bank robbery of the National Bank of Greece in the centre of Athens on January 16th. Before I go on to enlarge upon the actual events, I’d like to say a few things in regard to the motives that lay behind my choice in taking such action and what it means to me.

For me, present-day society is a wagon following a pre-defined course that is leading straight to its complete dehumanization. The role of its passengers, its wheels and its horses—in other words of its driving force—is played out by ourselves, the people. The wagon’s driver has the cruel face of capitalism and its co-driver is a faceless and vague State. The path the wagon follows is of course not strewn with rose petals and flowers but with blood and human bodies. With individuals or groups of people that wanted either to resist and change its frantic course or stand as an obstacle in front of it. The list of those is long: insubordinates, rebels, leftists, anti-authoritarians and anarchists fill many bloody pages in this journey’s storybook. Somewhere in between the last two groups is where I place myself.

So, to the degree of consciousness that my world-view and perception offers me, what I can easily discern is that present-day society relies only on violence, oppression and exploitation. A society which aims at the loss of human dignity in every way, by every means. This is something that is experienced and received by each and every one of us in their everyday life, either by being forced to deal with State institutions or at our work-place and from those who manage and profit from our work. Employment, work: words whose true meaning is wage-slavery, enslavement. Work and its surplus-value are the pillars of today’s economic system while the individuals that carry it through and the circumstances under which this takes place confirms that people are treated as expendable goods, as modern slaves. We see workers rotting away from illnesses that are due to their long-term exposure to hazardous substances, that die either by falls or by explosions in the capitalist temples they are building, that lose their urge, their liveliness, their spontaneity, all that characterizes a would-be free person. Working exhausting hours and employed in two or three jobs simultaneously just for a few crumbs. When to cover their most basic needs a person is obliged to mortgage himself to those cold-hearted oppressors otherwise known as banks and, under the burden of this financial responsibility, start showing signs of subservience and submission, whereas in the case that they cannot eventually cope and are led to bankruptcy end up commiting suicide or are publicly ridiculed by the mass media as one more human wreckage, leads us to one conclusion.

The State and capital, in order to continue existing, manufacture modern-day helots who can easily be compared to the Spartan ones. A system which on the altar of profit sacrifices human lives inconsiderably and with audacity. As I’ve already mentioned, one of the main partners in this crime are banks which are nothing more than legitimate loan-sharks and are partly to blame for the plundering that’s taking place at the expense of peoples’ work.

Taking all the above into consideration we can understand Brecht’s Maki when he asks ‘What is a bank robbery compared to the establishment of a bank?’ But also taking me into consideration who, wanting to resist on a personal level—as on a mass level all those that know me personally know that I have participated as much as I could—to my future yoke, to determine the conditions and quality of my life myself, to put into practice my refusal to ‘work’ and also to play the role of yet another productive unit, of yet another wheel in the wagon, wanting to attack the monstrosity that is called a bank (however at the same time having no illusions that I’ll inflict any major blows to this economic institution), choosing to mark a course of dignity in my life, I decided to rob a bank. An act which I consider, amongst many others, as revolutionary and which deservingly claims its own place as such.

In all honesty I must admit that the money I was going to acquire through the robbery was going to have me as the end-recipient. At the same time, however, as an anarchist and as a person who wishes to show their solidarity through deeds I’d be one of the first to actively and with joy help in contributing to monetary needs, which might come up in this scene to which I belong. Finally, what I’d like to point out here is that all that I have mentioned up to now does not in any way mean that I support a notion that whoever is an anarchist should be a bank robber or that whoever works is enslaved.

Going on now to recount the chain of events that took place, I take as a starting point the scene where I’m lying on the ground seriously injured by the cops’ fire and I have to let myself be taken into the State’s ‘warm’ embrace. The welcoming is to, say the least, impressive as an image, as most people saw, but also exemplary towards anyone who is considering acting in a similar way.

A pack of hunters in blue uniforms and me in the role of the injured game being surrounded and receiving ‘friendly’ kicks—which later I found out were part of the framework to disarm me—and comments like ‘we fucked you’ or ‘you’re not such a big shot now, you fucker?!’ among other brave words. Finally, being handcuffed from behind despite the fact that I couldn’t move or breathe, having received bullets in my lungs, liver and elbow, completes the picture. I refer to these events without the slightest trace of bitterness, complaining or disappointment, as I didn’t expect any better treatment from my enemies in the case that I did fall into their hands. In any case, a similar attitude has been displayed to less ‘dangerous’ villains, and, as a mere example, I’d like to remind you of images such as the arrest of protesters and immigrants or the pogroms at gypsy camps, just to name a few. I am referring to these events however as, in a tragic and insane way, these are the people who will come forward at my trial as the ones who defend and honour human life and dignity, while I’ll be in the role of the immoral, hardened, violent and heartless criminal.

For the time that I was kept at Athens General Hospital I literally experienced the violation of every human right as an arrestee and later as a prisoner. There were early signs regarding how I was going to be treated at my parents first visit to see me at the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). While there are very strict rules about the number of visitors—even in the case of relatives—an armed to the teeth police officer barges in and places himself in a corner which as a consequence destroyed any concept of at least sharing a private moment with my family, as from the drugs-treatment I was receiving I couldn’t even open my mouth, let alone hold a conversation. Following this incident and at an unsuspected moment, while in a hazy condition from the heavy drugs treatment I was undergoing due to the pains I had from my wounds, and swimming in a sea of tubes that were coming out of my body, I realized that a guard was now permanently positioned inside the room and right next to me. This situation really irritated me and didn’t allow me to rest and I made it known to him. Strangely enough he then left the room and instead stood right in front of it. Of course when the doctors and the head of the ICU came to examine me I reported this incident and, truly astounded and irritated by the event, they got rid of the cop, wondering who had let him in.

Here, a big thank you needs to be given on my behalf to all those people, from the doctors to the nurses, who gave me attention and who, irrelevant of their own political beliefs, took care of me as best they could. Some of these people also resisted as much as they could to the different pressures put on them by the prosecuting authorities, either in regards to my guarding or my transport and exit from the ICU.

On the third or fourth day of my hospital treatment I was informed that prosecutor Diotis was coming to see me later that afternoon. I must confess that to start with I wasn’t sure whether in my condition I would be up to facing him. The head of the ICU, however, assured me that he would be by my side for the duration of the interrogation and made it known to me that due to my condition I had a right to stop the process at whatever moment, something that I was unaware of. So when Diotis arrived escorted by a security police chief and another person whose official role I can’t remember, but was probably the interrogator, and as soon as each of them had spoken to me to me for a couple of minutes I signalled to my doctor that I wanted them to leave. On his way out Diotis told me that in any case they were going to find who else was with me and that to talk now would just make it easier for me. Of course his words fell on deaf ears. The second time he came I was given a chance to understand who Diotis really is when in a lively exchange of words with the head of the ICU a very strange phrase slipped out of his mouth. Having finished his monologue and having delivered me the arrest warrant and the list of accusations I was facing he asks me to sign. My doctor immediately intervenes and explains to him that I am incapable of doing such a thing at the moment and asks him to leave as my strength was deserting me. Then Diotis, to both our surprise, answers: ‘Of course I respect the boy’s condition and I don’t intend to give him a hard time, because if I did I could just pull on his tubes a little and put his pressure up to 50.’ I realized at that moment what would have happened in that room if the doctors weren’t people with willpower and values but simply pawns. I would have, no doubt, discovered the ‘famous’ interrogation methods that prosecutor Diotis has used in the past.

After this incident the conditions of my detention really worsened. Two armed guards were permanently placed inside the ICU and pressure was put on the head of the department for me to be dismissed earlier, which was achieved. I was then transferred to a specially laid out room in the Eye Clinic with the excuse that they would be able to guard me more efficiently. In this new space in which I was placed I was sleeping with two undercover cops by my side. Another two cops were permanently stationed in front of the open door of the room while one character kept trooping in and out every half hour to check up on things, another 5-6 cops were in the waiting room and an unknown number of individuals in the corridor outside.

The result of all this was for me not to able to sleep for 3-4 days and to feel like a monkey in the zoo as every jumped-up cop came in looking at me up and down and discussing me on his mobile phone or with his collegues. I was at the end of my tether and so made a complaint to the head of security about it all who replied that I was a prisoner now and that they’ll be the ones to judge how I should be guarded and that they’re protecting me from myself meaning, if you can believe it, that they were watching over me so I didn’t commit suicide. Other amazing scenes that took place included me, still bed-ridden, relieving myself in front of them while they watched undisturbed, or me being handcuffed to the bed inside the ICU, again with the excuse of preventing me from committing suicide and other such incidents. Like the attempt to kidnap me from the Eye Clinic and to transport me to the hospital at Korydallos prisons while I still had stitches in from the surgical incisions, falsely claiming that the doctors had given their permission and which in the end was, for the time being, avoided due to my parents notifying the doctors.

I believe the sole purpose of all this was to humiliate me, to make me lose all sense of self-respect and to generally make me realize the fact that I was a captive in their hands and I no longer had any rights. These situations drove me to think of the hospital and prisons at Korydallos as a haven of mental tranquility.

In the meantime, while I was waiting to be transferred to Korydallos prisons, we all saw an orchestrated attempt by the prosecuting authorities to manufacture culprits with their only indication being that they belonged to my citcle of friends or to the anarchist scene. I am now sure that the taking in of people to be interrogated, the making public of names and the issuing of arrest warrants were triggered by the police finding some of my personal photos, calls to and from my mobile or whatever document proved I had a friendly relationship with these individuals. I want to express my solidarity to all of them.

According to the police and journalist scenarios, we form an, unknown at least to me, ‘gang in black’ which consists of 10-15 individuals, anti-authoritarians and anarchists (which leaves open an option for the authorities involving other individuals) and this gang has committed another 6 bank robberies, goes on holidays to expensive resorts, has close ties to Passaris and so on. As far as the money that had been gathered by various comrades to cover needs of the anarchist scene and which I kept in a bank deposit box, it was labeled as the product of robberies. As an outcome of all the above, I ended up defending myself in front of the interrogator for 7 bank robberies, for attempted homicide and for money-laundering, plus being put under the anti-terrorist law. That the State and its underdogs have been tarnishing peoples’ reputation as a standard tactic for years now, to inflate briefs, to manufacture culprits, organize trials that are judicial parodies and generally in all kinds of ways to demonstrate their hatred and vengefulness towards whoever resists, is well known. One question however forms when taking all the above into serious consideration. What kind of treatment and what kind of methods will the State use in the case of the arrest or voluntary coming forward of the three comrades in order to get a confession out of them and send them to trial but also how will a ‘fair trial’ be secured for whoever goes through with this procedure?

Finally I have one thing to say to all those who are planning our physical, ethical and political annihilation, once and for all: no matter what dirty and unethical means they use, no matter how much they hunt us down and imprison us, they will never crush us and tame us. Because those who are just are those who revolt, not those who snitch and bow their heads down. I also want to say a big thank you to all those who have chosen, chose or will choose to give me their support and solidarity, by whatever means, even though the nature of my case is, I believe, very difficult.
In struggle

Giannis Dimitrakis

Korydallos Prisons

5 June 2006

About the case of Yiannis Dimitrakis

Anarchist Yiannis Dimitrakis was arrested, heavily wounded by cop bullets, on January 16th, 2006 after the National Bank robbery on Solonos street, in the centre of Athens. His arrest was followed by a delirious propaganda by the police and media about the alleged existence of a so-called “robbers’ in black gang”; in the days while he was still being hospitalized in the intensive care unit the infamous “terror”-prosecutor Diotis attempted to interrogate him; his friends and relatives were targeted; and in the prosecution case against him the anti-terrorist provision as well as charges for a number of additional robberies were included. The prosecuting mechanisms also accused and proclaimed wanted for the case three more anarchists, Simos and Marios Seisidis and Grigoris Tsironis, actually reaching the point of placing a bounty on their heads in October 2009.

Y. Dimitrakis defended the particular bank robbery in which he was arrested as his political choice, as a choice based on his opposition to the blackmail of work as well as to the role of banks. In addition, from the first moment and during the entire time of his captivity he has been actively present in revolts and struggles within prison and through his writings has kept a vivid contact with developments on the outside.

The outcome of his trial in the first degree, in July 2007, was an exterminating sentence of 35 years. During his appeal court, in December 2010, his sentence was reduced to 12,5 years

Letter from Yiannis Dimitrakis

Excerpts from Yiannis Dimitrakis Statement in court- June 2007

Text from yiannis dimitrakis on the mass hunger strike in Greek prisons, November 2008

Text from anarchist Yiannis Dimitrakis in regards to the prisoners’ solidarity fund

Escape from oblivion (first attempt), text from Giannis Dimitrakis

Text by Yannis Dimitrakis – 3/8/2012