They arrested and humiliated me because I put up 3 stickers in the Stockholm metro
“Think what we could do if you had put up 4th...”
The last phrase of the policeman in my room.
Detailed description of what I experienced
At Saturday 30.5.09 in Stockholm Universitet many music festivals took place. In the morning at 4.05 I went to take the metro (stop Universitet) to go back home. As I was directed by the rolling escalators to the platform, I stuck a sticker on a metal skylight and as I was on the platform, I put up two more stickers on a couple of rubbish bins. The one stickers said “Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna. Kamp mot rasism och Kapitalism” (Socialist Justice Party. Against Racism and Capitalism) and the other one promoted our newspaper (“Offensiv”- Offense).The subway came in about 9 minutes. I got inside, and while I was talking to a well-known, in seconds two security men grabbed me by the arms and put me out before the metro even had left the platform. They kept my hands stretched without being able to move, and in front of all the people in the metro, they took me to a room next to the ticket room. On the way I saw at least two other security men. I had a bag and a waist purse, which even when I felt to fall, they didn’t let me to lift it. In the room, they put me up to the wall, and they body searched me (the excuse was about searching for guns) as also my bags, where they found the other stickers. Apart from the stickers they did not found anything “strange”. One of the security persons took the stickers I had in the bag and put them on the table and took them some pictures. Then they said me that I was under arrest (!) because I caused damage of public property and that soon the police would come. When they requested my personal information I showed them my Greek identity.
The police came at 4.50 (one woman and one man). The man went to take photographs from the glued stickers (!) and the woman searched my things and requested me my personal information. When I gave her my identity, she asked if I had a passport. I replied that I had the passport in my home. At 5.05 I was announced that they had to take me to the police station (!). Before leaving to the police station they searched me again while I was sitting to see if I had something on me.
At 5.20 we arrived at the police station. We went on the 4th floor where they said me that they will check my personal information because my identity wasn’t reliable for them. While I was waiting, another policeman searched through my things again. After that without understand why, they took me to the 7th floor. There were two officers, who took my belongings, and asked me to take off my footer and my t-shirt. After that, they opened a small room (about 1,5 * 1m) with a small seat. From films I have seen I can describe it like an isolation room. There, they fully undressed me and even asked me to bend so they can see if I hide anything in my ass (probably drugs).Then I dressed up and closed for a few minutes in this cell.
Now I was wearing only a thin underwear t-shirt and my punt. They gave me a paper sign in, in which they had recorded all my belongings. At 06.00 one of the two officers took me to a cell (!). On the way he informed me that I was under arrest and that I had to wait from one to six hours to find an interrogator, as well as if I wanted translator in the process. The cell (approximately 3 * 5m) had only a mattress and a window. I asked sometime to go to the toilet and to give me my clothes because I was feeling cold. They allowed me to go the toilet, but they said to me that I will get my clothes at the end of the process. I put my hands in the inside of the t-shirt and tried to sleep.
The interrogator arrived around 08.00. In the interrogation (I had translation) he asked me give a lot of information. He said at some point that they could not accept my identity. I stated (as I had done to the first female police officer) that I had my passport at my home. When the interrogation finished he got me in another cell to wait for what the public prosecutor would suggests. The public prosecutor suggested that two policemen will bring me at my house, where I would have to show them my passport. In the interrogation I had expressed my desire none to get inside my house. Also they gave me a document to sign which said that if I change my address I should inform three different Swedish authorities.(!)
When the policemen brought me home (09.45), they went inside without asking me. I showed them the passport and after a lot of discussion (which includes questions about "strange" things I had in the room), they stated me that I am free and that a fine will be sented to me.
I am organized in the left-wing in Greece since 6 years back and I know very well that all this treatment, is the first line (the pre-fest of the tortures) in a page of the life of so many immigrants (mainly), but also left-wings ...and every type of person that don't fit to the normality of their democracy (specifically of Greece, to speak about things that I know well). The main reason to make it public this incident is not to have a kind of personal pleasure. It’s because I don't want any other person to live what I lived. I had the strength to live all this (even if some times I was ready to cry) because I’ve grown up in Greece, and as a left-wing student activist, participating in the educational movement, I know well what Police brutality means. Other children, men or women probably would not endure all this. One way to stop such incidents as this is to publish them publicly, to be condemned by the whole society. I could never believe that because of three stickers I deserve this treatment. Even the Greek police who is much higher level worse, I don't think that they will treat me like this (but they can do worse without reason). Although none police or security man neither hit me nor shouted me (some of them indeed were very kind and condescending to me), they considered literally that, what I did, was a crime and they had to follow exactly the procedure that deserve to a criminal. Mobilization in less than 9 minutes of 4 security men, full body search and full search of my belongings, filing of my personal data in big detail, undress, stay in cell of isolation and in “normal” cells, total storage of my personal data, violation of my personal space. It was an embarrassing and humiliating process for the size of the "crime" I did and I consider to be psychologically raped in a significant extent.
The only “positive” throughout this procedure, was that I felt, even to a lesser extent, what they have felt so many people, in the police departments and in the cells, with or without reason. The phrases were written inside the cell make me emotional and helped me very much. Unfortunately, I didn't have a pencil to write something to help psychologically the next of me. I just was thinking about what had happened in this closed cell isolated from the outside worlds know abouts. Who had wrote this frase and what happend to them? how many people had been bleeding or vomiting in this exact spot? how many people and in which situation, they have slept in this matress? and so on.
I believe that all this treatment was racist because they wouldn't have done all these to a Swedish citizen. This because, their main argument for my treatment, was because of my Greek ID. An ID which is official Greek document and throughout the Schengen Treaty is obligated to be accepted by all EU State Members, and also to have the same rights in each EU State Member. Even if I have to accept that there is a problem with this ID, I had mentioned in the first police woman that I had my passport in my house, but she didn't tell me to take it and with this way, to protect me from all this humiliation. She knew very well what was going to followas she said ”you will have a new experience to tell your friends”(!). The fact that I am a foreigner here, perhaps that means to them that I had to live with this totally embarrassing procedure, which would subjugate me to the Swedish legitimacy ("not dare to do it again") and securing this subjection by controling me (filing my personal data, accountability in case of changing address).
The main question is, did they let me go through all this treatment because of putting up three stickers of political information during an election campaign, or was the whole humiliating process because of my ”crime” of not being a native Swedish? Obviously, the answer is the latter.
I will end with a phrase which was written in a wall of the cell, that said almost about:
“Don't let the prison harm you, all their system is a failure”
Member of Socialist Internationalist Organization – XEKINIMA (Greek section of C.W.I)
Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (Swedish section of C.W.I)