The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Rape Trial Postponed

Devastating news in the rape trial here in Athens that I wrote about this morning. The trial has been postponed until January 2011! Why ?

This happened for several reasons, none of which would ever have flown in a proper court of law. Firstly, the defendant’s lawyer claimed she was busy with another case. Which is fine in theory, except it’s a case she picked up last week. Knowing full well, of course, what was on her agenda today.

When she asked for the postponement for this reason, our awesome, chain-cigar-smoking lawyer asked for a continuance instead, which meant we would have resumed after the Easter holidays, as I’d expected. The judge said no. And wham, January 2011 it was – for two rapes that happened in 2005.

And a convicted serial rapist strolled out of the courtroom and into downtown Athens.

I am disgusted and shocked by this miscarriage of justice. They have allowed this man to walk free. Free to rape other women. Because his lawyer was busy. How can this happen? It happens because the legal systm here doesn’t work, even at the best of times. It’s broken and it’s the victims that pay, not the criminals.

The whole story of this latest breakdown of the justice system is much more shocking than I could ever write. Please go over to Natalie Karneef’s blog and read the whole post. If it wasn’t so painful and disgusting it would be described as nothing less than a farce.

Natalie, I know that there are hundreds of thousands of Greeks and foreigners alike here, who would be shocked and angry to hear what happened to you. I hope this case recieves as much publicity as possible. No woman in this country is safe if the Greek authorities can allow such things to happen. I’m disgusted and intend to put the word out as much as I can.

In solidarity

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  1. gurmit
    March 23, 2010    

    I for one am not at all surprised by this happening even though I don’t much about Greek courts. I think it is still positive for at least there is still the chance the guy can get prosecuted later on. I know here in North America at least, a lot of women don’t even take it to court for as everyone says it is like being raped twice, once by the rapist and then by society and the court. In Canada we have the fifth highest rape rate in the world and of course most rapes are not even reported. One time at university, a student I knew in my student residence got raped after a party after a lot of drinking. In the morning she approached the guy and accused him of taking advantage of her when she was too drunk to fight back or anything. His response was to write a letter calling her a whore and saying everyone knew that, etc. and slipping copies of it under every dormitory room on her floor. She got him kicked out of the residence for writing that. What I couldn’t believe was when a good friend of mine, who had some student position in the executive for that building, and heard about it in a meeting said that that she got that poor guy kicked out of residence. We had a big argument over that. However, I see that attitude a lot among other women too for many victims of rape.

    I have heard that in Greece there is no law through which a woman can take her husband to court for rape. Is that still true? Of course these things are always hard to prove even if there is a law. One person who did manage to prove, in the United States, that her husband raped her and was abusive was a woman named Lorena Bobbit. She on trial after having taken a knife and castrated her husband after he took the liberty of raping her.She did not have to go to prison because of him. Not too much later, a woman in my former hometown of Vancouver, BC also castrated her husband, for cheating on her while she was pregnant with her sixth child with him, and having learned from Lorena Bobbit, she flushed the castrated organ down the toilet so the doctors wouldn’t just sew it back on. She did not get any prison time either but because the judge felt the kids would suffer by being split up and going into strangers’ homes. She did get community service in which you wear a sort of a uniform and clean streets or whatever and people know it is because you did something wrong.

    I for one certainly believe rapists should be castrated, through proper medical means not brutally with knives or whatever, and imprisoned. It isn’t just drive for sex. They have sick souls that want to control other people’s very beings. Too bad that guy in Athens is still walking free and with his penis still in operation probably.

    Yeia sas

  2. March 23, 2010    

    Wrong on so many levels. Just the thought that this man is out there, that I or one of the many women in my life, Greek or foreign, could be walking right past him in the street makes my skin crawl. Disgusting.

    I have linked to Natalie’s site on my blog too. The least we can do is show her some solidarity.

  3. gurmit
    March 23, 2010    

    This serial rapist’s lawyer could also be at risk from him or some other woman related to her. The judge, even if not a woman, is also at risk for I’m sure even if he is a man he has female relatives and/or friends. It is just too bad that they didn’t put the safety of society first, but justice is on sale in every country. Whoever, can afford the better lawyer gets the benefits the courts can offer no matter what kind of criminal they are. My brother is in his last term of law school and told me they have taught them to defer things for as long as possible if need be and I don’t think he believes there is justice really. I wish Natalie all the best. She was so optimistic just a couple of days ago. Maybe, just maybe the fellow will be convicted in 2011. If he has been convicted beforer, it seems like there might be a chance at least. At any rate she is a good role model for other women just for taking it to court and being able to talk about what happened to her without taking on the rapist’s shame.

  4. March 24, 2010    

    Natalie, I know that there are hundreds of thousands of Greeks and foreigners alike here, who would be shocked and angry to hear what happened to you. I hope this case recieves as much publicity as possible. No woman in this country is safe if the Greek authorities can allow such things to happen. I’m disgusted and intend to put the word out as much as I can.

    Natalie and Dana (and their GHM support team) will very much appreciate if some of these thousand people can come to the court as support in January 2011. Last Monday there were only two women from NGOs and two persons from the respective embassies. So the defense lawyer, a leading Left Coalition woman politician, did not feel any embarrassment for her show and the court did not feel any pressure to break the law and postpone rather than continue the trial.

    Here is yesterday’s statement of Dana, civil claimant and second alleged rape victim:

    “I am extremely disappointed and frustrated by yesterday’s outcome. I feel that I have done everything that the Court has asked of me. Having been summonsed to attend on four occasions and making arrangements on all of those four occasions, I have yet again been turned away without ANY progress in the case. In deferring our case because the defence lawyer has made a commitment to another case, no matter how significant, means that the Court prioritises her time and commitments over my own and Natalie’s. It is not easy for us to attend and we also have commitments, including work commitments, which we forego in order that we can attend. I feel that the defence lawyer has committed to a work load that she is not able to effectively manage and the Court’s decision yesterday suggest that it supports that. Recognising that the decision made yesterday cannot be reversed, I expect that when I attend once again in January 2011, that the Court will hear the case efficiently, effectively and to its conclusion.”

  5. March 24, 2010    

    @Greek Helsinki Monitor

    I will commit to being there (if I’m still here) and will certainly do everything I can to get others in court on that day. Please keep me posted and I will do whatever I can.
    .-= deviousdiva´s last blog ..Rape Trial Postponed =-.

  6. Oath Taken
    March 26, 2010    

    Who is this lawyer? Has she no shame? And where are the other organizations (beyond GHM who I have to begrudgingly admit in this case is highly commentable) to support the victims? There is no excuse in this case – the judge and lawyer need to be publicly shamed for essentially raping the victims for a second time.

  7. March 26, 2010    

    wow! Oath taken and we are seeing eye to eye on everything he wrote!

    no other women’s ngo has published anything even after all the publicity

    but luckily Eleftherotypia today and hopefully Ta Nea tomorrow and Veto on Sunday will cover the issue – and then maybe the women’s ngos will “wake up”

  8. Oath Taken
    April 1, 2010    


  9. April 1, 2010    

    @Oath Taken
    Which names are you enquiring about?
    .-= deviousdiva´s last blog ..Technical Trivia =-.

  10. Oath Taken
    April 1, 2010    

    The names of the judge and the lawyer involved of course, the people that effectively raped the victims (psychologically) for a second time. Maybe I have too limited an understanding of the Greek legal system but I would expect them to be a matter of public record.

  11. April 1, 2010    

    It wasn’t obvious to me which names you were wanting. I don’t have the name of the lawyer or the judge but I will ask and get back to you.
    .-= deviousdiva´s last blog ..Technical Trivia =-.

  12. April 2, 2010    

    Please join the facebook group in support of Natalie and Dana

    You will find there all the releases with the information you want.

    The lawyer is Zoe Konstantopoulou, Syriza candidate in previous elections and daughter of Nikos Konstantopoulos with whome thye share the legal office.

    Anf the names of the three judges: ???????? ?????? – ??????? ?????? – ????????-?????? ???????

  13. Oath Taken
    April 2, 2010    

    Not just one but two women among the judges but no shame for what they are putting the victims through! Who/how can one bring a complaint against them for misconduct? In AngloSaxon legal terminology there is such a term as depraved indifference and I dare say it applies entirely to their case.

    GHM for all the misgivings (or worse) that I have for some of your group’s activities, on this particular one especially I wish you all the luck (because it appears that a sense of justice alone does not suffice in the land of the laughable orange tree) to help bring the rapist to justice and the judges/lawyers to shame, even if it means yet another defeat for Greece at the ECHR (I personally wish that the Greek state has the minimum decency not to try and defend itself at the ECHR). On my part I will make sure to name them and shame them – at least no votes for this clown will come from my fiends voting for SYRIZA. The press exposure of the Grigoropoulos trial is quite obviously 100 times more important for her than the rights of rape victims to some closure and the protection of society from a serial rapist.

  14. gurmit
    April 3, 2010    

    Hi Oath Taken,
    While I think is great that you support these rape victims and will take some political action too through convincing friends not to vote for someone you think unfit to run, I wonder about the thing you wrote about the land of the laughable orange tree. I’m not really sure about what that means, but my guess is that it is not a very nice way of talking about Greece. Perhaps at the risk of sounding like a moron, I also think Greek orange trees are great. I saw them in person and some people who had come with me on the trip even ate the oranges from Athenian orange trees lining the streets and thought they were the best oranges ever.

    It is not just in Greece that women are raped by the judicial system but in just about every country if not every country and women everywhere are involved in taking a stance against other women. Some would argue that since the rapist deserves the right to a lawyer, why can’t it be the best lawyer possible for him, and would say she is just a really good lawyer. Maybe that is all she feels. I worked for a lawyer one time who defended a man who had raped two little girls with a knife and cut them up so badly it is a wonder they survived. He broke into their home when their mother left the house for a few minutes to pick up some food from a convenience store or something like this.While I hated the guy (I had to talk to him at times over the phone), I agree he did deserve a lawyer. My boss tried every means to not allow the system to put him into jail (and he had killed a woman before this crime). When I asked my boss how he could defend such people, he was like, “No matter how big a loser someone is, I start feeling sorry for him/her for being that way.” Of course he also wanted to win the case to feel he was a good lawyer. He did end up losing it and his wife and the rest of us in the office cheered when he phoned and told us from Vancouver ,but I don’t think he probably celebrated. Now, I am not saying what happened in the Greek courtroom is right, but it isn’t just a Greece thing.

    From what I understand, one of the girls anyway did go on her own free will to look at some ruins with the guy. I believe even if she did this that she was totally innocent and he had no right to even lay a finger on her. Many people when they are travelling in another country just feel freer and braver and take more risks than they would at home, at least I did when travelling by myself in Britain at the age of twenty. I hitchhiked with strangers and often ended up being invited by people to their homes for dinner even from train stations and stuff and went for I felt I could trust them. Luckily nothing happened and they were very nice people. However, many people in any country will question a young woman going off with a stranger or strangers in a foreign country. She can explain all she wants about her innocence but there are many who will not believe her.

    Yeia sas

  15. April 3, 2010    

    In the weekly’s “Veto” issue published today: “Untouchable the serial rapist with pies,” including an interview with Natalie
    Karneef and exclusive information including the name and photograph of the accused. Related Facebook group members have been requested to help scan and upload the article as the newspaper is not available online. We make the same request here.

  16. Kostas
    April 5, 2010    

    This may be an obvious question as we all know that in Greece, connections (meson) trumps justice. Could this rapist be politically connected and that is why the special courtesies given.

  17. gurmit
    April 6, 2010    

    I went to the facebook that supports Natalie and Dana. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the “Veto” in translated form but I did found out that CBC, a major Canadian news agency, did fairly recently give Natalie coverage and the chance to get her own words out. I wasn’t too impressed by the fact that only 5 people commented on the CBC coverage with 2 of them totally blaming Natalie for being raped, and a third neutral. One of them also blamed immigrants in Greece for an increase in rape in Greece. I wonder how he would have felt if in Australia people started saying that about Greek immigrants after the “Hot Chocolate” rapist, an immigrant from Greece, was caught and another guy from Greece who teamed up with him. The Hot Chocolate rapist actually drugged and raped over twenty women.

    I have no problem with the rapist’s lawyer defending him to the best of her ability, including getting things delayed, because that is her job. The fact that she is a woman defending a rapist doesn’t bother me either. However,the decisions of the judges to let this be delayed on and on for so many years does bother me, whether they are men or women being besides the point. It seems unusual to say the least. Hopefully Natalie will get a lot of support from Greek people.

  18. Michelle
    April 19, 2010    

    This may be an obvious question as we all know that in Greece, connections (meson) trumps justice. Could this rapist be politically connected and that is why the special courtesies given.