Update on Conspiracy of Cells of Fire trials and recent arrests (Greece)
On November 1, two anarchist comrades—24-year-old Gerasimos Tsakalos and 22-year-old Panayiotis Argyrou—were arrested in Athens after attempting to mail package-bombs to various embassies. While Tsakalos was known to police simply because he is an anarchist, Argyrou had a warrant out for his arrest since October 2009 on charges of belonging to the Fire Cells Conspiracy, and he was also awaiting trial for allegedly torching a public bus two years ago. On November 22, Tsakalos, Argyrou, and Harilaos “Haris” Hatzimichelakis—who has been in pretrial detention since September 2009—released letters in which they admitted to being members of the Fire Cells Conspiracy.
On November 25, the Fire Cells Conspiracy claimed responsibility for mailing the package-bombs.
On December 4 and the days that followed, a massive counterterrorism operation took place in and around the Athens metropolitan area. Pigs raided and searched a number of homes and arrested several comrades. Among the six people (five men and one woman) later imprisoned were Giorgos Karagiannidis and Alexandros Mitrousias, both of whom had warrants out for their arrest since September 2009 on charges related to the Fire Cells Conspiracy case. Karagiannidis was arrested at an apartment in Piraeus. Mitrousias and another comrade, Constantinos Sakkas, were arrested as they were leaving a garage in the Nea Smyrni neighborhood. They allegedly had a bag in their possession containing two Glock pistols, a Skorpion submachine gun, and a hand grenade. In the garage, police also found three submachine guns, seven pistols of different manufacture, 50 kilograms of ANFO explosive, four hand grenades, three AK-47 assault rifles, a silencer, a large quantity of bullets, and 200 grams of TNT. At another location, the pigs found more than 30 fake ID cards, as well as other “contraband.” Karagiannidis and Mitrousias both denied having any relationship to the Fire Cells Conspiracy. Their arrest warrants, as well as warrants for others, were issued at the end of September 2009 on the basis of fingerprints found at Hatzimichelakis’ home—the notorious “safe house” in the Halandri neighborhood, where everything began. Since all the weapons were clean, the authorities were unable to link the six people arrested on December 4—some of whom don’t know one another and were arrested in different places—to any specific attacks, so they are now talking about “a new terrorist organization.” Due to our not wanting to release news based exclusively on police statements and articles in the bourgeois press, we consciously avoided writing anything about these events in the hope that those arrested would speak for themselves. A week ago, one of those arrested—well-known anarchist Christos Politis—released a letter that we intend to translate as soon as possible.
On December 22, Hatzimichelakis, Argyrou, and Tsakalos released a statement saying that Karagiannidis and Mitrousias have nothing to do with the Fire Cells Conspiracy.
On January 17, the first Fire Cells Conspiracy trial will take place in the courtroom at Korydallos Prison, and the group has called for solidarity. The thirteen people facing trial are: Panayiotis “Takis” Masouras (in pretrial detention since September 2009, he denies membership), Harilaos “Haris” Hatzimichelakis (in pretrial detention since September 2009, he recently admitted to membership), Konstantina “Nina” Karakatsani (at large since September 2009 and in pretrial detention since April 2010, she denies membership), Panayiotis Argyrou (at large since September 2009 and in pretrial detention since November 2010, he admitted to membership), Alexandros Mitrousias (at large since September 2009 and imprisoned on December 4, 2010, he denies membership), Giorgos Karagiannidis (at large since September 2009 and imprisoned on December 4, 2010, he denies membership), Emmanouil “Manolis” Yiospas (arrested in September 2009 and released on probation in April 2010), Nikos Vogiatzakis (imprisoned in February 2010 for one month and subsequently released on probation), Errikos Rallis (at large since November 2009, arrested in March 2010, and released on probation a few days later), plus four people who have warrants out for their arrest (three since October 2009, with the fourth being Gerasimos Tsakalos’ older brother, whose arrest warrant was issued a week after Gerasimos was arrested for the package-bombs). Absent from the list is Gerasimos Tsakalos, who will likely be tried at a later date.