I wanted to bring your attention to a rape trial that was to take place very soon here in Athens. However,
Everyone at the Public Prosecution Office – judges, officials, lawyers – would be working on the day the trial was scheduled to begin, except for ONE clerk. But, as it was explained to me, you cannot have a trial without a clerk. How one clerk going on strike can hold up an entire judicial process I don’t really understand.
Please visit this courageous woman’s blog about the rape trial and show some support for her speaking out. The full story of the rape and the aftermath is here.
I will keep you informed when I hear more.
UPDATE: Here is the full article from The Gazette.
Montrealer returns to Greece to testify
Will attend trial of man accused of raping her
PAUL CHERRY, The Gazette
Published: Thursday, September 25
A Montreal woman has decided to travel back to Greece to testify against a man who is alleged to have raped her, even though she’s received little support from authorities there.
When the 31-year-old heads for Greece on Saturday, she hopes to retrieve something that was taken from her.
“It’s not really about whether the guy gets however many years in prison. Ultimately, I don’t think that changes much, except maybe it can keep him off the streets for a while,” she said. “It’s more about me getting my own confidence back. I just decided I needed to have my say and if I didn’t, I would regret it.”
The woman, whose ordeal with Greek officials was described in a feature story in The Gazette in June 2007, will travel to Greece at her own expense for a trial that is expected to last two days.
Emmanouil Aristovoulos has been convicted of raping a Danish tourist in summer 2005. He is alleged to have raped three other women, including the Montrealer, that summer. All victims were drugged by a man who offered to take them on a tour of sites like the Acropolis.
The Gazette has chosen not to name the Montreal woman.
The Montrealer will make the trip even though the Greek consulate in Montreal has ignored her repeated requests for help.
By her estimate, she called the consulate 30 times after being subpoenaed as a witness for a second time this year. Her calls got her nowhere, so she took matters into her own hands.
She paid $1,500 for her flight and is expecting a pile of red tape when she tries to get reimbursed through the Greek court system. She also arranged to stay with relatives to cut down on costs.
The only support she has had is from Canada’s embassy in Greece, which will provide an interpreter for the trial.
“I really want to get it over with. I’m really dreading it,” she said of the trial, expected to begin Wednesday. “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to get anything over with so much in my life.”
UPDATE 2: A new article on the case from Kathimerini
Rape victim slams state system
Greek authorities should push through the necessary reforms to facilitate the process for rape victims seeking justice, the 31-year-old Canadian victim of a sex attack has told Kathimerini after the trial of her alleged attacker was postponed for a third time this week.
“Authorities in Greece should realize that rape victims, after all they have been through, cannot be left waiting indefinitely in order to serve outdated laws,” the 31-year-old said after authorities put off the trial of her alleged rapist, a Greek national, due to a strike by court staff.
The woman, a writer from Montreal, traveled to Greece to face in court the man charged with raping her – as well as a Danish woman and two Australians – in Athens in 2005. All the victims said they had been offered drinks, which turned out to be laced with drugs, by a man who offered them to take them on a tour of the Acropolis.
The 31-year-old, who is engaged to a Canadian of Greek descent, said she had not received any support from Greek authorities and had relied on the help of the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a non-governmental organization. “With the exception of two members of the Greek Helsinki Monitor, no one else has responded to any of my queries over the past year,” the woman told Kathimerini.
She added that she had been let down by the police and health workers. “Police said they couldn’t do anything and sent me to hospital,” the 31-year-old said, adding that three hospitals refused to carry out tests to determine whether there were any drugs in her system. The tests were carried out 24 hours after the attack which gave the substance enough time to leave the woman’s system. “What I have learnt about the Greek system is that no one cares about anything or anyone,” she said.
The 31-year-old, who has paid about 1,000 euros to visit Greece, said she should be entitled to some sort of compensation, at least to cover her travel costs. “But chiefly I would like confirmation that there will not be a third delay to the trial,” she said. The hearing has been delayed twice – once in July due to lack of witnesses and on Monday due to a court workers’ strike.