Two of the women who were rounded up, forcibly tested and diganosed with HIV under police supervision in 2012 in Greece and subsequently exposed in the media as sex workers and accused of felony were awarded a small compensation by an Athens mixed jury …

Zoe Mavroudi Europe, Greece, Ruins, Women

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Two of the women who were rounded up, forcibly tested and diganosed with HIV under police supervision in 2012 in Greece and subsequently exposed in the media as sex workers and accused of felony were awarded a small compensation by an Athens mixed jury court last week.

The court ruled that the women’s months-long pretrial imprisonment was unjust. The women had been acquitted of all charges last year, along with six more women.

This is a significant legal victory in a case which involved egregious human rights abuses against 32 women, most of them injecting drug users, who were victims of an unprecedented witch-hunt that saw hunderds rounded up by Greek police and State doctors in central Athens, days before Greece’s critical May 2012 election.

The case was documented in the 2013 documentary Ruins: Chronicle of an HIV Witch-hunt, which was supported by USI. The documentary has been screened around the world and is now available to watch online.

Last Friday April 4, the court awarded the women 10 euros for each day spent in prison. According to fylosykis.gr, lawyers for the women requested a larger compensation but the court awarded the minimum required by law for such rulings.

The decision is the latest in an ongoing legal battle, which involves pending trials, a law-suit against authorities, as well as an application to the European Court of Human Rights, which is still at the examination stage.

A Greek prosecutor recently dismissed the lawsuit co-signed by five of the women and four Greek HIV rights NGOs against doctors from the Greek Center for Disease Control, police officers, and their superiors, who orchestrated and executed the operation; an appeal will be filed this month.

Meanwhile, thirteen women who had their original felony charge of “grievous bodily harm with intent” reduced to a misdemeanour, will be tried in September 2014 and January 2015.

Many of the women are represented by pro-bono lawyers from the Athens-based volunteer Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and refugees.

A UK-based legal fund in support of the legal battle is currently handled by USI. For more on the case and to donate to the fund, please visit the Ruins website.


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Zoe Mavroudi

Actress, playwright, screenwriter, director. Greek.

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