Nobody saw this coming. Not Omar, nor any of us, his friends.
In October 2020, while Omar was in Exarchia, the Greek police were patrolling the area. They found some plastic bags with cannabis hidden next to a tree, and they drove Omar to the police station as a suspect, where they beat him and accused him of drug trafficking.
Omar is a 21-year-old refugee of Kurdish origin from Iraq. Having fled the cruelties of war and ISIS in Iraq, he came to Greece 4 years ago and managed just recently to take asylum. He finally felt safe and optimistic about a future in peace. He started to learn the Greek language and finished school. As a hard-working and dedicated person, Omar has always worked a lot – not only for money but also voluntarily to help other people, whether in the refugee camp in Samos or with different organizations in Athens.
He faced and survived so many obstacles on his way from Iraq via Turkey to Greece, making it all the more impressive that he has maintained passion and positivity. Even now.
Omar has been kept at Avlona prison since August 2021, until his trial which could be delayed by up to 1,5 years. If he loses the trial, he will be faced with a penalty of 8-15 years in prison. If he is found guilty in court, he could lose asylum too, and the Greek government might send him back to Iraq. Additional to these dark prospects, we are worried about his health condition, which has deteriorated in this so far 10 months of detention. He needs surgery, but that is not possible under the current conditions he is facing in Avlona prison.
An application to get Omar out of pre-trial detention was recently rejected, and one of the reasons was that Omar could not provide a house contract - his old contract expired during the time he was in detention, and a solemn declaration of a friend hosting him was not accepted. Omar´s health condition was not even considered.
It was at that point, when the application was rejected, that we realized we need help from our community.
We want to support our beloved friend Omar legally with a lawyer to get him out of detention and defend him in court. We want to get him out of this humiliating and inhuman situation. We want to see him free and laugh with him again, just like we did more than 10 months ago.
We now have less than 10 days to prepare for the trial.
How will the funds be used?
We are looking to raise 3000 euros for the legal fees and pay a lawyer. If you can contribute to support Omar and stand in opposition with the brutal practices of the Greek government and police practices, let us unite and be in solidarity with Omar. Any amount will help and is very much appreciated.
As a volunteer for the Red Cross in Iraq and solidarity organizations in Greece, Omar has been dedicated and hard working for others and now he needs our support.
What is Omar's message to supporters?
I am deeply grateful for your support for me at this very challenging time. I promise I will never give up the fight for freedom. Living a life in freedom and peace should be every human´s right, but unfortunately the reality looks different. Let´s unite in the struggle for a world in which people live together in respect, dignity and love. And freedom is the precondition for all of it.