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Saturday 10 July 2010

Letter from Kostas Gournas, 4/5/10

Trikala Prison10/4/10 about 10 in the evening.
A Rapid Response [Amesi Drasi] patrol approaches me on the street in Nea Philadelphia. Two cops point their guns and put handcuffs on me. I the next minute a member of the antiterrorism unit arrives in a "Freewind" and, clearly relieved, shouts "That's him." After a wild ride, with the cops anxious and the "anti[terrorist]" calming them down, we reach GADA (the central police headquarters for Attica). The lift takes us to the 12th floor. The door opens and three masked men get to work. With the first blows of my greeting they tell me to undress. Many questions follow and my stance of refusal enrages them. The threats begin: "Take him to Hymettus. Go bring his kids here and let’s kill them in front of him." At the same time, the beating continues with fists, knees etc., with special preference for the body and not the face. Of course, my continued stance of refusal "enflames" also some fists to the face (the bruises on my face were visible in my appearance before the prosecutor). Suddenly I notice that a lot of them have gathered together. Their fury to learn facts from me before my arrest is publicized makes them forget their masks. There were about seven individuals now in the room. Now they start the more "professional" methods of interrogation. A headlock until I lose consciousness, intense pressure on my face, and all these things while I'm naked. There were some pauses in between, of course, for me to stare at the wall and think things over. The questions continued together with the resumption of knees to the groin. Things get out of hand. Time is passing and the "anti" have lost control. I keep falling to protect myself from the blows and they keep lifting me up. The pauses stop. Seven or eight individuals, masked and not, all beat me with batons. A strong blow to the back of my head, with the result that I nearly lose consciousness, puts and end to the torture. When I regain my senses a little, I become aware that my body is in a very bad state. My extremities have grown completely numb and swollen. The strain of my condition has caused difficulty breathing, and due to low blood circulation (a mark of Thalassemia) I feel that my blood pressure is low. I understand that this condition will continue until morning, in definitely worse circumstances. I suffer some kind of crisis and collapse. The masked men seem uneasy, but they wait. They make me sit down and throw water in my face. They are not yet convinced, but my symptoms intensify. They ask me if I take medicine and I utter for them the word "anemia." They don't seem convinced, but, for good or ill, they call for the director of the Antiterrorism Unit. Finally, clearly uneasy, they call a doctor who examines me and they bring me to the hospital, not wanting to risk that I suffer something inside GADA (police headquarters). There, after some time, I start recovering, and in a poor condition they bring me to my cell. The whole procedure must have taken about three hours (I say "must" because I had lost my sense of time because of the physical and mental effort I had expended), but a detailed description of the torture has been omitted. Honestly, I can no longer remember the faces of my torturers. On the following morning, a more "friendly" method of interrogation begins. The temporal duration of this "approach" lasted right up to evening before my preventive custody in Trikala Prison. Three high ranking cadre in the anti-terrorism unit had the role as protagonists. As if nothing had happened on the prior evening ("Come on, kid, you've had a couple of slaps") the offers were luxurious. Cigarettes, water, refreshments, sandwich, coffee and ... a little whiskey with fries were always at my disposal. This "friendly" approach contained the same questions which they had put to me during my torture, as well as some different ones. It was all quite theatrical. CD's with telephone conversations, photographs, antiterrorists in the role of barista with disc in hand!!! All this because I was "the cultivated one, with a wife and kids," whereas the others were "perverted, crazy" and many other things. From the beginning they were betting on the fact that I am a father of young children and would cooperate. "Aren't you thinking about your children, how they will grow up? Talk to us and we'll make sure you get out of prison in a few years." They even offered me money a little before I made my "defense" in the arraignment. "Talk to us and we'll give you 50 thousand to give your wife. No one will know about it." The following days passed with the same ordeal continuing every 3-4 hours. They deployed of course also a younger cadre, about my age, in the hope that he might have better luck. So passed the days until 4/17 when I was brought, together with B. Stathopoulos, to Trikala prison. The fact that I DID NOT COLLABORATE was surely rewarded with my preventive detention at such a great distance in kilometers, which deprives me substantially of the capacity to see my wife and children. Out of there, surely. Their basic goal is to make my communication with my comrades P. Roupa and N. Maziotes difficult. To make matters clear … I chose to publicize my torture by the vile members of the antiterrorism unit after the "Political Letter to Society " for very definite reasons. First of all, I assign my torture, but also the "friendly approach," to the exact same procedure: INTERROGATION. The basic goal of the torture was not revenge, but the extraction of information. I want it to become fully understood that I am writing these letters now, after taking responsibility for my participation in Revolutionary Struggle, in order to declare that I AM NOT A VICTIM OF STATE REPRESSION. The publication of these facts does not constitute in any case a charge of torture. My goal is to demonstrate the antiquated and ineffective methods of interrogation and to contribute my experience as a moment of struggle in the condition of imprisonment. I declare that my determined stance follows the proud, revolutionary tradition of all those who have found themselves prisoners of the state. I feel proud of my participation in Revolutionary Struggle, the path it carved out and its significant interventions in social-class war. Neither torture nor psychological war nor the annihilating punishments which they are preparing for us will bring me to my knees. I am stronger than ever and I owe this to my immovable faith in the struggle and in revolution. Now I can look my children in the eyes and with pride. Besides, their birth on December 6 2008 gives me an obligation to continue to struggle.
Finally, with this text I want to honor my comrade Lambros Foundas who was murdered by the state. The battle that this beautiful fighter gave will always remain engraved in the hearts of all of us.
Kostas Gournas
Trikala Prison
Wing E1

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