Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos arrested 

Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos arrested
Greek anti-terror police hold leader and senior members of far-right party on charges of forming a criminal organisation
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Helena Smith in Athens, Saturday 28 September 2013 13.28 BST

Greek police have mounted an unprecedented crackdown on the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, arresting its leader, three MPs, and more than a dozen other key members.

As the prime minister, Antonis Samaras, held emergency talks on Saturday with his public order and justice ministers, Nikos Michaloliakos, the extremist organisation's enigmatic founder, was being held by counter-terror officers after a carefully orchestrated operation that began in the early hours of the morning.

The arrested officials will appear in court over the weekend on charges of forming a criminal organization, police said.

Emerging from the talks with Samaras, the justice minister, Charalambos Athanasiou, said: "Justice has moved with decisiveness and transparency. I want to say for all those who have been arrested if they are sent to trial there will be just justice."

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Impossible biographies  

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Detention center in Amygdaleza, just outside of Athens. Nikos Pilos


It was one of his usual journeys. Late every Thursday, Shehzad Luqman would bicycle through the streets of Athens to the house of a farmhand, a friend who would often give him fresh produce. On Jan. 17, Shehzad set out on his bike, met his friend, but never made it back. Residents along a portion of Shehzad’s regular route say they heard the sound of a crash, cries for help, and a motorbike speeding away. The 27-year-old Pakistani immigrant was dead; he had been stabbed in the chest by two neo-Nazis in their 20s dressed in black, according to eyewitness accounts. The next day, protestors laid siege to the city center. With Shehzad’s body in a wooden coffin in the middle of the throng, immigrants and Greeks protested side by side against the rising tide of xenophobia that has engulfed their country.

Shehzad, who came to Europe seeking a better future, was a casualty of the Greek economic crisis. Six years of negative growth have left the country devastated, its economy resembling that of a country at war. Unemployment, 11 percent in 2007, is now 30 percent—and it’s nearly double that for young Greeks.

All this has fueled anger in the streets and resentment especially toward immigrants who mop up the low-paying and few jobs that are available. Hate crimes are on the rise, making life for refugees and labor fleeing war zones or poverty in Asia and Africa even grimmer. In such circumstances, Shehzad’s killing was not unusual. “This attack was not an isolated case,” says Amnesty International’s Marek Marczynski. “We have seen a dramatic escalation of racially motivated attacks over the recent past.”

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The Transformation of the Summer Pasture: Geography, Migration, and Social Change in the Middle East 

The Transformation of the Summer Pasture: Geography, Migration, and Social Change in the Middle East

Chris Gratien, Ph.D. Candidate, Georgetown University

Summer is upon us and as in many summers past, millions will visit the various beaches of Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean shores in search of fun and sun at popular holiday destinations such as Bodrum, Ayvalık, Fethiye, and Kaş. The warm coasts of modern Turkey are increasingly a vacation destination for those looking near and far for excitement or relaxation. The phenomenon of beach culture and many of the things that come with it are historically recent on the global stage; yet, summer sojourns to alternative locations are nothing new. In fact, long before the beach resorts of Bodrum, swarms of seasonal travelers once flocked not towards but rather away from the coasts during the hot Mediterranean summers.

The summer destination of choice throughout the Ottoman period was of course the mountains, where cooler air promised health and respite from the scorching heat of the plains and coasts. While for well-to-do city-folk this might have been a trip to a summer home in the mountains, all segments of society participated in this seasonal migration. In particular, pastoralist communities would move their entire herds and property to a summer pasture referred to as a yaylak (or yayla), where they would set up camp until the passing of the hottest months allowed them to migrate back down to the grassy plains for winter grazing. This seasonally migratory pattern arose out of a symbiosis between geography, climate, and human activity that defined life and politics in many parts of the Anatolian countryside.

Changes in the political, economic, and technological contexts of human society have dramatically transformed the function of the yaylas that nonetheless continue to hold symbolic significance for many. The massive migrations of people and animals have become a thing of the past, and while this has meant an overall decrease in the geographical significance of highland plateaus, people continue to find new ways of making use of these spaces. This short essay offers a historical glimpse at summer pastures and the migrations they encouraged over the course of dramatic changes in ecology within Turkey over the past two centuries complete with a compilation of maps new and old.

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Immigration detention centres – “Warehouses” of souls and bodies 

Press announcement – Lawyers for the rights of migrants and refugees.

Athens, 14 August 2013

In crisis-stricken Greece operation ‘Xenios Zeus’ has been used by the Greek government as a means of rounding up a redundant and unemployed segment of the migrant labour force from the center of Athens under the pretext of controlling the legality of their residence.

These people have been transferred to new detention centers (Amygdaleza, Corinth, Xanthi, Komotini, etc.) set up specifically for this purpose but which hardly differ from extant facilities (police stations, former warehouses, etc.) that were the subject of a Public Statement by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe in March 2011 and have given rise to a multitude of convictions by the European Court of Human Rights on grounds of the inhuman and degrading treatment of the detainees.

In the Amygdaleza detention centre of Xenios Zeus, the use of containers has exacerbated the torment of the summer heat; in Corinth, a detainee who had been deprived of the necessary medical care was transferred to hospital only to die; reactions and protests from within all new detention facilities in the country are ongoing.

The greatest agony, however, which the people transferred to Amygdaleza and other facilities have to endure, is the prospect of the indefinite extension of their detention. While until 2009 immigrants awaiting deportation were held up to three months, this was increased to six months during the ministerial tenure of Mr Dendias, to twelve months after the start of operation Xenios Zeus and – since the beginning of August – to an unprecedented maximum period of 18 months, an extension which has triggered a series of protests.

Against this unceasing flow of extending the maximum period of detention, nobody builds a dike. Even if the European Court has been convicting Greece in a by now repetitive manner because of the absurd periods of detention in unacceptable facilities, the Greek judges have been validating the indefinite extension of the detention period, even when there is no reasonable prospect of returning these people to their homelands. They have thereby uncritically been siding with the roars of extreme nationalist groups, that apparently wish for solutions more radical than ‘mere’ detention.

The recent unrest in Amygdaleza, however, has shown everybody that even the barefoot ones may rise up – probably because they have nothing to lose. What was the reaction of our State? The authorities pressed rebellion charges against 41 detainees in order to set an example for the rest. This means that for 41 people the maximum period of detention will be surpassed by their incarceration in prison, for a criminal offence this time. And most likely they will be subsequently held for another period of 18 months with a view to deportation that the court will have ordered.

We must ask ourselves however if development via prisons and detention centers is what debt-stricken Greece should be aspiring to. We hereby remind all those who think that the detention of immigrants is not an issue that directly affects them, that the first medical experiments with HIV-positive women and drug addicts (like operation ‘Thetis’ in Amygdaleza detention center earlier this year) are already a fact and that the detention facilities that are currently under construction or planned, will eventually accommodate all outcasts. This is not just a fear but an explicit forewarning put forward from within the podium of the Greek Parliament by a representative of the neo-nazi party.

Already today and tomorrow, it will be decided whether we will continue to hold on remand those who dared to protest against the deplorable conditions and their period of detention.

We anticipate judges who will stand up and stop the slide of this country along dark paths. We remind them of the precedent set a few months ago by the court in Igoumenitsa when it acquitted from all escape charges other prisoners who had been held under similar conditions of detention.
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