Drop criminal charges against university activists Alexandri, Pentogalou, Sotiris and Xagoraris!
We, the undersigned, demand that criminal charges against university activists Alexandri, Pentogalou, Sotiris and Xagoraris are dropped.
On 13 March 2018, Athena Alexandri, former elected representative of the University clerical Staff to the University of Athens Senate, Vanessa Pentogalou an activist with the University of Athens Union of Clerical Staff and Panagiotis Sotiris, former member of the executive committee of the Greek Federation of University Teachers’ Associations, will appear in court, facing criminal charges. The charge against them is that on October 30 2014, for a short period, they deprived the Rector of the University of Athens at that time, Professor Theodoros Fortsakis, of his freedom of movement. On March 29, Christos Xagoraris, a student activist at the University of Athens Law School at that time, will also appear in court, with charges related to student protests of that period.
Autumn 2014 was a period of intense conflict in the University of Athens. The previous academic year there had been a big mobilization against the potential lay-offs of clerical staff that were part of the austerity package imposed by Greece’s creditors. In the 2014-2015 academic year students and union activists were protesting against the authoritarian practices of the University of Athens Rectorate. Moreover, students were protesting against the annulment of student participation in university governing bodies and against the consequences of austerity.
On 30 October 2014, there was a mass protest by students at the University of Athens Senate. Union Representatives from both clerical staff and university professors and lecturers went to express solidarity and demand an end to the authoritarian practices of the University of Athens Rectorate. The Rector of the University of Athens, Professor Fortsakis, refused any dialogue. Alexandri was there as a member of the University of Athens Senate, Sotiris as member of the executive committee of the Greek Federation of University Teachers’ Associations and Pentogalou as an active Union activist. Some days later in his testimony during the preliminary police investigation regarding the events of 30 October 2014, Professor Fortsakis named Alexandri, Pentogalou and Sotiris as responsible for the events. It is because of his testimony that they were charged. This testimony has nothing to do with what actually happened.
Many unions in Greece have already expressed their solidarity to the accused, including the Confederation of Civil Servants (ADEDY). They denounce the criminal charges as an authoritarian attempt to repress and restrict union activity and penalize solidarity to the student movement.