Police killing puts spotlight on anti-Roma racism in Greece | Roma

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neurontin 300 mg capsule cost Athens, Greece – On the morning of February 7, the Sampanis household gathered on a avenue nook in Perama, Athens, to construct a small memorial on the aspect of the street the place 18-year-old Nikos Sampanis had been killed by police 4 months earlier.

Nikos’ father and uncle stacked two cement blocks, coated them with white plaster, and stuck a small church on high. His elder sister Katerina sat beside them, crying, holding the hand of one other brother, Georgos.

Nikos’ son, three-year-old Alex, toddled between his mom and completely different uncles and aunts. The household put flowers beside the memorial and a photograph of Nikos inside, adopted by a can of his favorite vitality drink.

Katerina and Georgos confirmed Al Jazeera movies of Nikos at his office, fixing motorbikes and joking, his shoulders shaking with every snort.

“He made many many jokes,” mentioned Katerina. “Our household was not a depressed household. We have been very pleased, due to him.”

Shortly after the memorial was constructed, the household noticed a number of cops in white motorbike helmets watching additional down the street. Katerina stood and commenced shouting at them. Different family members joined, yelling: “Murderers!”

“All the police are racist, all of them, there isn’t one who isn’t,” mentioned Katerina. “These police had a mania to kill one in every of us. They usually discovered my brother. They wished to kill a Gypsy.”

The incident

Nikos Sampanis was killed early on October 23, 2021, after a squad of Greek cops on motorbikes chased a automotive in Perama and fired a minimum of 36 bullets into the car.

A 15-year-old passenger of the automotive was additionally severely injured, and a 3rd teenager survived with out main accidents.

In an preliminary assertion, the police acknowledged that they pursued a automotive that appeared to have been stolen, that the youths had reversed the automotive into the officers and injured seven of them, and the police had fired their weapons to cease the car.

Nevertheless, when police radio communications have been launched, there was no point out of the automotive being stolen, the officers defied orders from headquarters to stop their pursuit, and so they reported not one of the officers had been injured.

And, the automotive chase started with the report that there was a automotive operating pink lights and “three folks inside are Gypsies”.

The killing reignited a firestorm in Greek media, and reopened conversations about anti-Roma racism in Greece.

Days of protests

Aspropyrgos – a municipality close to Athens the place many Roma reside – was rocked by demonstrations for days. The Sampanis household has demanded a full investigation into the homicide and known as for an investigation into hate crime fees.

The household tells of a lifetime of police harassment, detailing frequent site visitors stops, ID checks, and journeys to police stations.

“They cease us on a regular basis, they ask for our papers. We give them and so they nonetheless hassle us,” mentioned Giannis Pasios, Nikos’ uncle.

“Sure after all the police are racist,” mentioned Giannis Sampanis, Nikos’ father. “All the police are racist to Gypsies. They are saying we steal usually. I don’t owe cash. I don’t steal. I work to get a wage for my youngsters.”

Thanasis Kampagiannis, the household’s lawyer, believes there’s adequate proof for the killing to be examined as having a racist motive.

“The truth that there was racial profiling, the truth that there was defiance of the order, after which there was a disproportionate use of weapons signifies there ought to a minimum of be an examination of what the actual motive of the crime was,” he mentioned.

The seven cops have been charged with the homicide of Nikos Sampanis, and tried homicide of {the teenager} who was injured. However they aren’t at the moment in custody and have been placed on desk obligation till the decision of the case is introduced.

“They’re working now! They’re free to stroll round wherever they need. They will go be with their households,” mentioned Katerina. “And us? Who our brother has handed away? Who will we maintain? We who cry every single day, and the youngsters who received’t cease crying?”

The police didn’t reply to requests for touch upon the case.

‘Social plague’

Alexis Kougias, the lawyer for the cops, mentioned the 2 surviving youngsters who have been within the automotive with Nikos are being charged with the tried homicide of the policemen with their automotive.

He additionally mentioned in a tv interview concerning the incident that Roma “sadly lately are a social plague”.

Vasilis Tsarnas, a researcher on the Greek Helsinki Monitor’s Racist Crimes Watch, mentioned anti-Roma racism in Greece is widespread and mainstream.

“It’s a prejudice shared by the bulk, virtually no matter political id,” he mentioned. “That is normalised as most non-Roma Greeks don’t even see them as Greeks or residents with equal rights. Impunity for police violence, a typical drawback within the nation, turns into virtually absolute when the victims are Roma.”

Since 2005, the European Courtroom of Justice has issued 4 choices concerning the ill-treatment of Roma by the Greek police, discovering Greece repeatedly in violation of the prohibitions on torture, discrimination, which violated Roma folks’s proper to life, and that in a number of situations investigations into crimes weren’t full or efficient.

The Sampanis household and their lawyer are involved that the investigation into Nikos’ killing is equally improper.

“It’s not simply the truth that they’ve perpetrated this crime, however they’re making an attempt to cowl it up,” mentioned Kampagiannis.

Destroying proof

Three days after the killing, the police returned the bullet-ridden automotive to its proprietor, who consequently had it impounded, thus destroying a key piece of proof within the case.

Kampagiannis additionally defined that lots of the bullets from the scene weren’t retrieved for proof and that the police say the digital camera within the metropolis bus on the scene on the time was not recording, and there have been no different cameras.

When Kampagiannis produced a photograph of a digital camera mounted on a close-by home to the investigative choose, the police mentioned it additionally had not recorded something that day.

On February 14, the Sampanis household filed a request for dismissal of the investigator, stating that not sufficient proof had been collected and the investigation had been closed unexpectedly.

Within the Sampanis household home in Aspropyrgos, images of Nikos grasp on the partitions. His title is written on the entrance home windows of the home. Nikos left behind two youngsters and his spouse, Stasia, who’s at the moment seven months pregnant.

“I would like justice. I would like my husband however the place will I discover him?” she mentioned. “How can I really feel? The youngsters ask for his or her father on a regular basis.”

Nikos’ mom Maria Pasios mentioned she feels her son’s absence continuously, particularly when his youngsters ask when their father will come house from work. “All day I consider him, all day,” she mentioned. “He was going to have a very good life, however he didn’t have time.”

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