arrest of the wanted Pola Roupa. Image: W. Aswestopoulos
Pola Roupa, the wife of anarchist Nikos Maziotis, who had a million euro bounty on her head, was arrested with her six-year-old son, who is being held in isolation
Am 5. January Pola Roupa was arrested in Athens. The wife of the imprisoned anarchist Nikos Maziotis was betrayed. The Greek state had put a million euro bounty on her head. A proud amount, measured by the fact that Roupa was not charged with any murder during the time of her work.
Roupa was arrested along with a companion, 1992-born K.A. arrested in the apartment of the young, self-confessed anarchist in the Athens suburb of Ilioupolis. Roupa was in the apartment of K.A., while she herself was picked up in another place.
The woman, who has been described in the media as a twenty-five year old, confessed to being a member of the "armed group Revolutionary Struggle". Forty-eight-year-old Roupa had escaped almost two and a half years ago when investigators arrested her husband in Athens. In the meantime, she had tried to free him from prison by helicopter, among other things. The actions of the Revolutionary Struggle caused a sensation above all in the choice of targets. Among others, the U.S. embassy, the residence of the German ambassador in Athens, several banks and government buildings were attacked.
The arrests were followed by the usual procedure in Greece. Especially in the case of terror accusations, the arrested persons are demonstratively presented to the press. The state shows its strength. Afterwards the findings in the conspiratorial apartments are listed in all details. In addition, the media report possible targets without naming them. In short, whenever suspected terrorists were arrested in Greece, the government used it as a sense of achievement.
Also a self-confessed anarchist K.A. was arrested. Image: W. Aswqestopoulos
SYRIZA as a law-and-order party
So far, SYRIZA has been in opposition in such cases. The party of Alexis Tsipras, or rather its predecessor parties, and its supporters always took the side of the human rights to be defended in such arrests. Were there any grounds for criticism, for example in the arrest of the members of the "17. November", When Savvas Xiros, who was seriously injured by a bomb, received treatment for his wounds only in exchange for confessions, today’s SYRIZA ministers were among the first to take to the streets in protest.
In the Roupa case they showed themselves from another side. Together with Roupa, their six-year-old son living with her was also picked up. The child was taken to the Children’s Hospital in Athens by order of the prosecutor’s office and isolated from the outside world. In the meantime, the mother of Roupa and her sister tried to take the child of Roupa and Maziotis to their home.
Characteristic is the statement of K.A., to which she referred during her interrogation: "I am an anarchist, member of the armed revolutionary organization Revolutionary Struggle. The only terrorists are the state and capital. I refuse to eat and drink until the child of my companions Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis is given to her relatives."
The implied confession of membership in the Revolutionary Struggle brought the young woman, in addition to the less serious charge of aiding an escape, the charge of "Membership in a terrorist organization" one, on which alone without further provable offence a prison sentence of up to twenty years stands. Roupa and K.A. came into custody after presentation to prosecutor and magistrate. On Sunday both were hospitalized. The young anarchist already had a hospital stay after her arrest, during which an injury to her arm was treated.
The rest of the news is contradictory. According to the prosecutor’s office, the relatives were able to contact the child from the beginning. This version truncated Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis in public statements. Kontonis emphasized that even Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras could not visit the boy, but the relatives had access at any time.
This is not only contradicted by the contrary statements of the relatives and Roupas. Almost from the beginning, various groups and individuals have tried to get to the bottom of the truth. The association of hospital doctors, for example, tried to make use of their right to contact the attending physicians of the six year old. Without visiting the child themselves, they said that talking to the medical staff would give them clarity as to whether the boy was being abused as a hostage of the State Protection Service, as Roupa complains. The request of the physicians’ association was rejected without giving reasons. The government stressed it was proceeding strictly according to the law, and this was going to take some time.
An open exchange developed in the public dialogue between supporters of de facto child abduction and critics who saw the child’s place with a family member. Kostas Bakoyiannis, regional president of Central Greece, is a politician of Nea Dimokratia. His father Pavlos Bakoyiannis fell to an attack of the "17. November" to the victim. Whenever there is a public discussion about terrorism, Bakoyiannis, as well as his mother, the former minister of agriculture, Dora Bakoyiannis, side with those who do not want to show mercy. In the current case, Kostas Bakoyiannis appealed openly to the government. He demanded that the child be returned to his family as soon as possible.
Tsipras’ former departure, World War II veteran Manolis Glezos, whom Tsipras used as a trump card for his electoral victories, accused his former comrades of being guided by Turkish President Erdogan rather than democratic values. Glezos also tried to get into the hospital, but was turned away.
Similar requests came from all opposition parties, except for the Golden Dawn. However, they have been laughed out of the press. Only Thanassis Pafilis, the coalition spokesman of the Communist Party, chose the official way. He called the Minister of Justice, Stavros Kontonis, and asked him for information. At the same time, he requested that the boy be quickly transferred to a "safe, familiar environment" be brought.
Finally, late Sunday afternoon, the boy was taken into the care of his grandmother. A simultaneously applied for preliminary guardianship of Pola Roupa’s sister was rejected.
The public dispute of the Greeks
Legally, the action of the judiciary in the Roupa case is largely backed up by laws. Interestingly, one of them was passed by the then ruling PASOK in the eighties of the last century. PASOK also classified itself as a leftist, socialist party at the time, especially before the 1981 election victory. Manolis Glezos entered the race for the parliamentary seats for PASOK.
Just like the PASOK supporters before them, the SYRIZA supporters now defend their government’s decisions on social networks, in coffee houses and on the streets, even if they are completely contrary to their former ideological stance. The argumentation of the most fanatical even saw a danger for the child, if it stayed with the relatives of a terrorist. Some statements were frighteningly reminiscent of the theory of clan liability.
At the same time, it is noticeable that opposition members from the conservative camp now suddenly want to discover their humanity. It can be amed, however, that if they had their own government, they would have supported a decision similar to that of Justice Minister Kontonis without hesitation.
Greece would not be Greece, if there were not some humorous moments in all the quarrels. Social networks were abuzz about whether the one million euros that the traitor Roupas is to enjoy will be paid out in agreement with the lenders, or whether there will again be an objection from German Finance Minister Dr. Wolfgang Schauble gives.