Tag Archives: Greece

Greece: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Electra Koutra in Greece

January 30, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada* expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Electra Koutra in Greece.

Electra Koutra is a human rights lawyer who has experienced harassment as a result of her advocacy on behalf of several Syrian refugees.

It has come to our attention that on September 27, 2016, several Syrian refugees between the ages of 13 and 16 were on their way to a cultural centre to take part in a theatrical performance about their lives in Syria when they were intercepted by Greek police and taken into custody on suspicion that they were members of an armed group.

Electra Koutra represented the children and their parents as they attempted to report the incident and file a complaint. When precluded from doing so, she posted a statement on her Facebook page, disclosing that the children had been ill-treated by the police and that their attempt to lodge a complaint had been blocked. The Facebook post went viral and culminated in an order for a criminal pre-investigation into the incident.

Shortly thereafter, Electra Koutra experienced several acts of harassment. She and a colleague were served a court summons in which they were listed as “suspects” in the said case. When they demanded access to the case file, a right granted under Greek law to “suspects”, the summons was re-issued with Electra Koutra and her colleague described as “witnesses”. One day later, two men in civilian clothes – later identified as police officers – broke into her apartment. Electra Koutra reported the incident and requested that the Head of Prosecutors remove her home address from the case file in order to protect her family. Her request was denied. Instead, her request for family protection was added to the case file, resulting in her address being even more publicly available. Additionally, an internal document leaked to the press indicated that the police were increasing security measures to avoid a strike against the police itself in response to Electra Koutra’s report concerning the break-in into her home.


http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503474&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Greece: Ongoing judicial and police harassment against the human right lawyer Electra Koutra

December 8, 2016

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Greece.

Description of the situation:

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial and police harassment against the human right lawyer Ms. Electra Koutra, President of the Hellenic Action for Human Rights “Pleiades”[1].

According to the information received, on September 6, 2016 Ms. Koutra was informed that on August 11, 2016, a police officer, member of the Thessaloniki Police, filed a complaint for “insult to his personality” requesting the award of 80,000 euros in civil damages against Ms. Koutra. This action for damages was filed in response to a complaint filed by Ms. Koutra on June 5, 2013, after she accused the same police officer of locking up in a cell and denying the right to see her client (see background information). Ms. Koutra has time until December 9 to present her arguments in writing to the judge in charge of the case, who, by December 24, will issue a date for a court hearing.

Moreover, on September 29, 2016, Ms. Koutra has also been summonsed as a suspect, and then as a witness in relation to a criminal a case in which she represents five Syrian refugee children aged between 12 and 16 allegedly arrested and ill-treated on September 27, 2016, for carrying plastic toy guns in a bag in the street in Athens[2]. This summons contravenes the legal principle that lawyers should not be called to testify in cases tin which they act as lawyers[3].



Greece: El Observatorio de Abogados en Riesgo denuncia acoso a la abogada griega Electra Koutra


El Observatorio Internacional de Abogados en Riesgo (OIAD) denuncia con firmeza la situación en la que se encuentra la abogada griega Electra Koutra, que ejerce los derechos de la defensa legítima y necesaria de 7 menores sirios en situación especialmente vulnerables que han sido objeto de una detención arbitraria.

Electra Koutra representa a las familias de siete menores sirios refugiados en territorio griego, que fueron arrestados el 27 de septiembre de 2016 cuando se preparaban para participar en una representación teatral sobre su experiencia en Siria. Para la ocasión estaban equipados con armas de plástico. Dos sirios de 21 y 24 años también fueron detenidos con ellos como sospechosos de pertenecer a un grupo armado.

Contactada en calidad de abogada, Electra Koutra denunció inmediatamente las condiciones del interrogatorio y de la detención de los 7 menores, a los que se les impidió contactar con sus familiares y fueron humillados y maltratados por las fuerzas de policía antes de ser puestos en libertad. Tras estos hechos, presentaron una denuncia por registros corporales ilegales, violencia física y psicológica y detención arbitraria.

Dos días después, Electra Koutra y una abogada en prácticas que trabaja en el caso recibieron una citación judicial para comparecer en calidad de “sospechoso”. Tras su solicitud de acceso a los autos, tal y como exige la ley griega, la citación fue corregida para adoptar el término de “testigo”.


http://cnb.avocat.fr/Communique-de-l-Observatoire-international-des-avocats-en-danger-Soutien-a-Madame-Electra-Koutra-avocate-en-Grece_a2863.html (FRANCAIS)


Greece: Greek refugee lawyer targeted by police

November 27, 2016

Electra Koutra (A. Cat)

A Greek lawyer standing up for the rights of vulnerable groups such as refugees has found herself at the receiving end of police hostility. Omaira Gill reports from Athens.

On the afternoon of Sept. 27, 2016, several Syrian refugees aged between 13 to 16 were on their way to a cultural center to take part in a theatrical performance about their lives in Syria, carrying plastic toy guns as part of their costumes.

What happens next is disputed by Greek police. A police bike unit allegedly intercepted the children and took them into police custody at Omonia police station on suspicion of being members of an armed group. Two other Syrian refugees with them, aged 24 and 21, were also taken into custody.

An activist began to highlight what was happening on Facebook, and human rights lawyer Electra Koutra was invited to become involved by assisting the parents and children in their reporting of what happened.

According to a statement on her own Facebook page, she said that the children were ill-treated by the police, separated from the adults, humiliated and forced to strip. When the youngest, aged 13, objected in tears to removing his underwear, he was thrown against a wall. They were forbidden from contacting their family members to let them know what was happening.



Greece: PASOK questions top Greek judge

March 17, 2016

PASOK accused Supreme Court President Vassiliki Thanou Thursday of exceeding her authority after she wrote to the party to object to a recent statement criticizing her decision to take legal action against an academic who wrote a critical article about the judge.

Socialist chief Fofi Gennimata described as “unacceptable” Thanou’s decision to send a letter to PASOK commenting on the content of a party press release. Gennimata reminded the country’s top judge about the separation of powers and stuck by her original criticism of Thanou’s decision to take legal action against constitutional law professor Stavros Tsakyrakis.

The Supreme Court president decided to sue after Tsakyrakis labeled her “naive” and accused her of engaging in politicking as part of a blog post in which he was critical of Greece’s top judge for writing to her colleagues in other European Union countries asking them to urge the country’s lenders to complete the current bailout review.



February 24, 2016

Η Πρόεδρος του Αρείου Πάγου, Βασιλική Θάνου, κατέθεσε μήνυση εναντίον μου. Με εγκαλεί για εξύβριση και δυσφήμηση για επικριτικό σχόλιό μου που αναρτήθηκε στο ιστολόγιό μου, με αφορμή την επιστολή που απέστειλε, με την ιδιότητά της ως Προέδρου του Αρείου Πάγου, στους Προέδρους ανωτάτων δικαστηρίων των χωρών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

Η Πρόεδρος του Αρείου Πάγου συγχέει την άσκηση κριτικής που αποτελεί απόλυτο δικαίωμα κάθε πολίτη, ιδιαίτερα όταν αφορά δημόσια πρόσωπα, με την εξύβριση και τη δυσφήμηση. Θα επανέλθω αναλυτικά σε όσα μου καταλογίζει στη μήνυσή της. Περιορίζομαι να αναφέρω ότι ισχυρίζεται πως το περιεχόμενο του σχολίου μου ενείχε «μείωση του κύρους του αξιώματος, ήτοι αυτό της Προέδρου του Αρείου Πάγου, που η Πολιτεία μου ενεπιστεύθη και που δικαιούμαι να απολαμβάνω». Το αδίκημα της περιύβρισης αρχής έχει από το 1993 καταργηθεί και, προφανώς, το κύρος του δικού της αξιώματος και όλων των αξιωμάτων της ελληνικής πολιτείας δεν προστατεύεται από την έννομη τάξη.

(The President of the Greek Supreme Court sues Greek distinguished lawyer Mr. Stavros Tsakyrakis for defamation, after his blog post criticizing (including the opinion that after that she cannot occupy the seat of the highest Judge in the country) her letter addressed to the Presidents of all EU’s Courts, in which she included political views. This is his public declaration after learning he is being sued.  Thanks to human rights lawyer Electra Leda Koutra in Athens for this link and information.)