Police Excesses against Roma in Greece

10 April 1997

At approximately 6:00 AM on October 27, 1996, police officers stormed the Roma camp in Ano Liosia, Attica, on the pretext of arresting a 21-year-old Rom suspected of selling hashish. The suspect was not there at the time, so the police took his mother and sister into custody, probably in the hope that the suspect would turn himself in. The mother and sister were later released without being charged. As the police were leaving, a verbal exchange allegedly took place between individual Roma and policemen.

According to some sources at the time of the first raid, stones were thrown at the police. This formed the justification for a more serious raid of the camp later that morning, which resulted in the destruction of property and threats and intimidation of the camp's residents. Still on the same day, October 27, Minister of Public Order and former Vice-President of the European Parliament G. Romaios stated publicly that, „the police carried out its job very well in this case" and added, in reply to claims of police abuse of Roma, „we should all be skeptical about what Gypsies say."

In another incident of police excesses involving Roma in Greece, police officers shot and killed a Romani man at a police roadblock near Livadia, Boetia. The shooting took place after police set up a roadblock on November 19, 1996 in an attempt to catch a Romani man named Ioannis Christakis, who was suspected of murder. Around midday, the police pulled over five agricultural vehicles and forced approximately 35 Roma to lie face down in the road. Police officer Dimitris Trimis shot and killed 45-year-old Anastasios Mouratis, father of six and the driver of the first car, when Mouratis, lying face down and unarmed, „made a threatening gesture". Witnesses later claimed that this „threatening gesture" had been to raise his head and look in the direction of his two under-age children, who were also lying face-down in the road. Officer Mouratis was suspended from duty pending the result of an inquiry into the circumstances of the incident.

(Greek Helsinki Monitor)

donate now

Challenge discrimination, promote equality

be informed

Receive our public announcements Receive our Roma Rights Journal

news portal

The latest Roma Rights news and content online

join us

Become a part of the ERRC's activist network in Europe