Published by Joint press release | 29 / May / 2024

Pylos 9 case: still in jail

The trial and the latest developments

On Tuesday 21 May 2024, the Three Member Felony Court of Appeals of Kalamata examined the case against the ‘Pylos 9’. After a short hearing, and in accordance with the prosecutor’s proposal, the court found that the Greek State had no jurisdiction to prosecute the Pylos 9 for “participation in a criminal organisation” and “causing the shipwreck which resulted in people losing their lives”, since the events that led to the Adriana shipwreck happened in international waters. The court also dropped the charges against them of “smuggling” and ‘illegal entry in the national territory”, after recognizing that neither the passengers of Adriana ever entered the Greek territory, nor had they ever the intention to do so.

This decision confirms what the defense team and solidarity movement denouncedsince the very start:not only are the 9 survivors innocent of the accusations they were facing, but their pre-trial detention was unjustified and contrary to international and national law. 

Instead of receiving the support they needed following the tragic events of 14June, the 9 survivors who had just watched more than 600 people drown, including members of their families and friends, were thrown into Greek prisons and the racist judicial system. The 9 survivorswere finally vindicated thanks to the unlimited support and work of a tireless defense team and solidarity movement. This was despite the Greek Authorities and tabloids repeatedly trying to portray them as vicious smugglers in an attempt to conceal the authorities’ responsibility.

Given the absence of any efficient investigation into the circumstances of the Pylos shipwreck, relevant evidence only came to light thanks to the work of a few independent Greek journalists, international media, and investigative collectives. These efforts were even more crucial given that the interrogator judge assigned to the case of the Pylos 9 repeatedly denied the defense team’s request for a thorough examination of all the available and crucial evidence.

Despite the acquittal verdict of 21 May and contrary to the court’s decision, the Pylos 9 - who seeked asylum in Greece - remain until today behind bars because the Greek police vengefully ordered their administrative detention.

One of the 9 survivors, a 20 year old man whose application for asylum has already been rejected twice while he was detained, has been transferred to the notorious Pre-removal Centre of Petrou Ralli -near Athens- where he is detained and threatened with deportation to Egypt. The other 8, who are waiting for their asylum interviews, have been transferred to the police station of Nafplio, where they are currently detained until their transfer to a Pre-removal Centre, on the unjustified grounds that they may flee from the country.

The Pylos 9 are in urgent need for psychosocial support which they have been denied since the shipwreck they survived in June 2023. The arbitrary and punitive decision of the Greek police to maintain them in detention following their acquittal is unacceptable and a deliberate move toexpose them to further inhumane and degrading treatment. From one prison to another prison, the 9 survivors have been confined within Greece’s carceral system and their freedom violently attacked.

We demand their immediate release. Your mobilisation and your support to denounce this situation is also needed. We will continue to fightuntil the Pylos 9 are released and until the Hellenic Coast Guard and the Greek and European authorities are held accountable for their actions, which led to hundreds of people losing their lives. We will continue to fight to put an end to systematic border violence.

We demand:

- The immediate release of Pylos 9 and their proper treatment and support as survivors of the shipwreck.

- A thorough and independent investigation into the real causes of the ‘Pylos Shipwreck’ and the actions of the Hellenic Coast Guard.

- An immediate end to the criminalisation of migration and the incarceration of people on the move.

- An immediate end to systematic deadly border violence.

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