PRESS RELEASE: “The District Attorney of Thessaloniki ordered for a data disclosure on the perpetrator of the attack against a trans woman”.

Athens, July 25, 2014

 PRESS RELEASE

Subject: “The District Attorney of Thessaloniki ordered for a data disclosure

on the perpetrator of the attack against a trans woman”.

The Greek Transgender Support Association, a recognized ngo supporting the rights of the trans community, is following up a press release issued some days ago about the racist attack on a trans woman in Thessaloniki[1], and informs that the District Attorney of Thessaloniki ordered for a data disclosure on the offender.

In brief: on the early hours of July 16th, a trans woman was the victim of a racist attempted homicide. The offender initially attacked her verbally and physically punching and trying to strangle her, and then dragged her to a deserted place, where he began to hit her causing abrasions and bruises all over her body. Then he put his hand over her nose and mouth so as not to cry for help or breath. He also took the money she had in her purse, got into his car and sped away from the place, leaving the woman in blood and in a desperate state. The police ordered an immediate search where the perpetrator was identified, arrested and held in custody after the preliminary investigation of the Homicide Department, and ordered a forensic report on the victim’s wounds.

The offender, in the meantime and alongside with GTSA’s initiative, was identified by another victim – a refugee requesting political asylum from our country – who had raped and robbed in the same area a few days ago.

The District Attorney after studying all these evidence and with the approval of the Prosecutor at the Court of Appeals, ordered for a disclosure of the offender’s data (name, photos etc), in contrast to the initial attitude of the Greek Police that did even publicized the arrest on its website, in case he would be recognized by any other victim.

You can read the police statement with all the relevant details and photos of the proprietor  here: http://www.astynomia.gr/index.php ? option = ozo_content & lang & perform = view & id = 43842 & Itemid = 1336. His victims, if they recognize him by his photos, are requesting to contact the Homicide Department of Dimokratias Square Police Station or at their local Police Stations. Their anonymity and secrecy of conversation is ensured.

It should be noted that the District Attorney of Thessaloniki focuses on the fact that “the victims of his actions are persons that belong to vulnerable groups (one is a transgender person and the other a refugee requesting political asylum), because they are usually afraid to go to the police immediately and they live at the margins of society without any support by their peers, and they are more reluctant than other victims of rape and robbery to denounce the violent acts against them. The fact that he had already attacked in the past and his first victim did not denounce the attack and the ease of his violent activities show that it is very likely that this particular offender has committed more than those two identified offenses against sexual freedom, physical integrity and property.”

The Prosecutor, based her reasoning on the above evidence and ordered for “an immediate disclosure of the photos, name and ID number of the offender, in order to make his recognition by any of his victims easier and for the State to apply the Criminal Law against all these offences.”

Violence against women and trans women relates to the whole of society and not just to the victims. It is an act of violence against a woman regardless of her status and state. Because, the most insidious forms of racism are sexism and transphobia. Hundreds of trans people worldwide have already died because of the hatred and violence that is directed against them, and this kind of violence is always racist bias. The fact that the Prosecutor is encouraging the victims to feel safe, to come forward and denounce the acts of violence against them to the authorities, demonstrates that the “law of the strongest” is NOT always the law in this society.

We are sorry for the family of the offender, but for us it is more important to protect the weakest members of the society from acts of violence than the exposure of the offender to the public. If there are cases where it is really appropriate, in accordance to the principle of proportionality enshrined in the Constitution, to publicize the photos of the offenders, then surely these cases fall within the serial crimes of violence against defenseless refugees and trans people, and not the gibbeting of HIV-positive women.

We expect that the officers at the Police Station of Dimokratias Square, Thessaloniki, will realize the “notions and rationale” of the District Attorney and will do their duty not only in this, but also to other similar incidences where the offenders are acting really violently, instead of using their power in witch hunts against trans women as they did against trans women in Thessaloniki in 2013, or by jeering and illegally detaining their lawyer, as it happened to Electra Leda Koutra who was illegally held in custody in June 2013 when she arrive at the police station in order to defend her trans client.

It is equally alarming and unacceptable, in our opinion, that the trans woman was mentioned, in the police statement announcing the offender’s data, as a “Greek man” despite the fact that the Prosecutor used the term “transgender person”. It is an act of insult and institutionalized transphobia not to recognize the gender identity of a trans woman, which acts as a stepping stone for the increase of racist violence on the ground of gender identity in our society.

The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) will follow closely the case in each and every of its stages, and will take all necessary steps so as the gender identity of trans people to be respected and recognized in all institutions, including the Police Force.

We express for one more time our gratitude to Mrs. Eleanna Ioannidou and Mrs. Catherine Georgiadis, the lawyers in Thessaloniki for their pro bono legal support to the victim.

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

GREEK TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION (GTSA)

http://www.transgender-association.gr

transgender.support.association@gmail.com

———

[1] https://transgendersupportassociation.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/press-release-racist-murder-attempt-against-a-trans-woman-in-thessaloniki-the-perpetrator-was-detained/

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~ από Σωματείο Υποστήριξης Διεμφυλικών στο Ιουλίου 26, 2014.

 
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