Student jailed on the sole basis of DNA evidence

A 29-year-old Greek woman, know only as "Irianna", was arbitrarily sentenced to 13 years in prison in a convoluted terrorism inquiry.

Dialekti Angeli
Dialekti Angeli NewsMavens, Greece
Student jailed on the sole basis of DNA evidence - NewsMavens
Για την Ηριάννα Β.Λ. , Facebook

Why this story matters:

In March 2011, Irianna, a student, was spending the night at her boyfriend Konstantinos's apartment. The latter was on friendly terms with people who were suspected -- and later accused -- of being members of an armed organization called “The Conspiracy of the Fire Cells.”

That night, the Counter-Terrorism Agency raided the apartment and took Konstantinos to the police station.

At the time, Irianna voluntarily gave a DNA sample.

The boyfriend was then indicted as a member of the organization, without any evidence other than his knowing two members of the “Fire Cells”. Later, the Court of Appeals exonerated him.

By 2013, Irianna was teaching Greek migrants and refugees in the Foreign Language School of the National University of Athens. In January of that year, she was arrested after her DNA was identified on firearms found at the Athens University of Technology. The police searched her apartment and car, but found no evidence. She was given a conditional release. 

Her trial was carried out on the only basis of the DNA sample. On June 1, 2017, the court decided to sentence Irianna to 13 years of imprisonment. A friend of her boyfriend was also sent to jail in relation to the same case.

Apparently, a mere accusation by the Greek Counter-Terrorism Agency is enough to send someone to jail.

She made two appeals for her sentence to be suspended, but the Court of Appeals rejected her request.

UPD: Finally, in June 28, 2018, the Court of Appeal decided that "Irianna is unanimously innocent, without any doubt", notwithstanding the prosecutor's statement.

Details from the story:

  • Irianna’s parents hired a the general director of the European Center for Genetics and DNA Identification, who stated in court that there the woman's DNA could not be reliably identified from the controversial partial sample that was found.
  • An unprecedented wave of solidarity with the two young people, demanding their immediate release, was expressed through announcements, marches and concerts.
  • 394 trade unionists, academics, journalists, lawyers, local people, educators, artists, scientists and workers have signed a statement of solidarity, expressing their support.
  • The trial for the appeal continues on June 28, when the prosecutor’s proposal is expected, and probably the court's decision as well.
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