Injustice and oppression no one seems to care about

2. 7. 2020 / Jan Čulík

čas čtení 3 minuty

You escape being press-ganged into an Al Shabaab military unit and end up in prison in Greece

The "Vial" refugee camp on the Greek island of Chios is in reality an open concentration camp, which has been set up by the Greek government in front of the eyes of apathetic Europe, says Bohumil Kartous who visited the camp recently. (This is a summary of his testimony, written in Czech.)

Sapry is a boy from Somalia, he is 18. He was born in Saudi Arabia where his parents worked. After reaching in the "Vial" refugee camp on the island of Chios, where Sapry helped the international charities to distribute material and medical help, in March of this year, he was put in prison by the Greek authorities as a result of their unwillingness to distinguish between the perpetrators and the victims of violence. He has been in prison ever since...


Two years ago, Sapry's family was deported from Saudi Arabia back to Somalia - the family had no longer funds to pay for a work permit and a residence permit there. The area in Somalia where Sapry was returned to is controlled by the islamist militia Al-Shabaab. One day Sapry witness an incredible scene. Two armed members of the militias were watching a passer-by. One of the young men told the other: I will shoot him dead, if he falls with his face down, you will give me five dollars. If he falls with his face up, I will give you five dollars. Then he murdered the passer-by.

A few days thereafter A-Shabaab militia tried to press-gang Sapry into joining its military units. It was obvious he could not stay in the country.  He decided to leave and just like many others, he undertook a harrowing and extremely dangerous journey, eventually ending on the Greek island of Chios in August 2019. His interview with the Greek authorities on the basis of which he was supposed to be allowed to move further into Europe, was postponed in January 2020 until June 2020.

On the day that Bohumil Kartous left Chios in March 2020, Sapry was arrested by the Greek police. A fight started between Somali and Palestinian refugees there on that night. Sapry did not participate in the scuffles, as Bohumil Kartous can testify, because both Sapry and Bohumil  were  at a dinner outside the camp, which was organised  for the volunteers from the camp who worked for the  international charities there. After the dinner, Kartous drove Sapry back to the camp while the conflict between the Somalis and the Palestinians was still continuing.

When Sapry arrived back at the camp,  he was arrested by the Greek police and placed in detention, in spite of the fact that he had nothing to do with the scuffles. Within weeks he was sentenced to prison where he still remains. He has had no legal representation and the court proceedings took place in Greek, so that he did not understand a word. There was no translation into either of the three languages that Sapry speaks (English, Arabic, Somali).

Can anyone help? We have contacted some local humanitarian organisations but they were overwhelmed and did not have time to intercede.

Should an innocent young person continue languishing in prison in an allegedly democratic EU member state which allegedly observes the rule of law?



Obsah vydání | 9. 7. 2020