From Greece, Çağ­daş Kaplan describes the sit­u­a­tion of Evin Ekrem Ali’s chil­dren, a Kur­dish refugee assas­si­nat­ed by her hus­band in Lavrio. An oh-so exem­plary case.

Türkçe Gazete Karınca | Français | English

On Jan­u­ary 29 2020 in Lavrio, Greece, Evin Ekrem Ali, a Kur­dish refugee from Syr­ia lost her life at age 35, attacked with a knife by Behzat Ali, the man to whom she was married.

Fol­low­ing this assas­si­na­tion com­mit­ted in the upper sto­ries of the Lavrio Police Sta­tion, a space used by refugees as a shel­ter, the author of the crime, Behzat Ali, fled. He was arrest­ed, after a three-hour search by the police and Kur­dish refugees in the town. Fol­low­ing his depo­si­tion, the mur­der­er was incar­cer­at­ed by deci­sion of the court. As for Evin’s remains, they were trans­ferred on Feb­ru­ary 5 to Qamis­lo, her native city in North­east­ern Syria.

What Evin Ekrem Ali lived through and what her 4 chil­dren left behind are now expe­ri­enc­ing is a sto­ry in which war, forced dis­place­ments, the gov­ern­men­tal poli­cies of Euro­pean coun­tries but also patri­ar­cal vio­lence all are complicit.

Squeezed by expulsion and exile

In 2017, Evin felt com­pelled to leave Qamis­lo, then under threat from ISIS and in the line of fire of Turk­ish mil­i­tary oper­a­tions, and to move to Greece, via Turkey. Her objec­tive was to reach Switzer­land with her chil­dren, a coun­try some of her rel­a­tives had reached.


Evin Ekrem Ali

See­ing the risk of being blocked by the defec­tive social poli­cies regard­ing refugees in Greece, and fear­ing a return to Turkey as applic­a­ble by the cur­rent agree­ment between the EU and Turkey, the Ali fam­i­ly had not filed an asy­lum request in Greece.

Thus, the fam­i­ly could not ben­e­fit from any social aid for refugees and had found no oth­er solu­tion than to shel­ter on the upper floor of the Police Sta­tion in Lavrio, also used for this pur­pose by oth­er refugee families.

Dur­ing the time the fam­i­ly spent in Greece, Evin searched for ways to leave for Switzer­land, In the ear­ly months of 2019, the Kur­dish Syr­i­an fam­i­ly man­aged, through ille­gal means, to reach Swe­den – fail­ing Switzer­land… But their fin­ger­prints had been tak­en in Greece, the first coun­try they had entered in Europe (this, accord­ing to the Dublin pro­to­cole), so the fam­i­ly mem­bers were “giv­en back” to Greece.

Evin’s eldest daugh­ter went on look­ing for ways to leave Greece again. Four months ago, she suc­ceed­ed and reached Switzer­land with her uncle, seek­ing asy­lum there. The thir­teen year old girl is still there with her uncle, await­ing com­ple­tion of the asy­lum request procedures.

Patriarcal violence culminating in feminicide


Behzat Ali

Fol­low­ing the assas­si­na­tion, accord­ing to the infor­ma­tion obtained from refugees liv­ing in the same region as the Ali fam­i­ly in Greece for the past two years, with­out aid ben­e­fits Evin strug­gled for the sur­vival of her chil­dren while reg­u­lar­ly sub­ject­ed to vio­lence from her “jeal­ous” hus­band, Behzat Ali.

Since Evin was not offi­cial­ly reg­is­tered, she could not go to the police. And the police closed its eyes on this vio­lence occur­ring under its own roof, in the upper storeys. And this male vio­lence end­ed in an assassination

The children’s situation

Fol­low­ing Evin’s death and their father’s arrest, the chil­dren aged 5, 7, 11 and 13, became orphans de facto.

Accord­ing to Greek laws, the pros­e­cu­tor placed the three chil­dren still in Greece under “pro­tec­tion” in which they are main­tained in the Pedon Hospital.

These three chil­dren, not yet recov­ered from the trau­ma of their moth­er’s dis­ap­pear­ance, are at risk of being placed in an orphan­age, since they have no close rel­a­tives liv­ing in Greece.

As for Evin’s thir­teen year old present­ly in Switzer­land, since legal pro­ceed­ings for asy­lum are still ongo­ing, she does not have the right to see her kin. The uncle Hıznî Ekrem Ali, also in Switzer­land, could request to see the chil­dren, but he must first await for his offi­cial res­i­den­cy per­mit to be awarded.

enfants refugiés lavrio

Four chil­dren together

Accord­ing to the Dublin Con­ven­tion signed by the 28 mem­ber coun­tries of the Euro­pean Union and that estab­lish­es con­di­tions reg­u­lat­ing asy­lum pro­ce­dures, unac­com­pa­nied chil­dren are allowed to live with a fam­i­ly mem­ber (par­ents, broth­er, sis­ter, uncle, aunt, grand par­ents) legal­ly resid­ing in a EU mem­ber coun­try, and thus may request a fam­i­ly regrouping.

When the chil­dren ful­fill these con­di­tions, their request is han­dled by the coun­tries where their kin reside. But if these rel­a­tives have not yet obtained the legal right to reside in these coun­tries, defined as “Dublin 3”, the chil­dren’s request is han­dled by the coun­try where they find themselves.

Bureaucratic walls

To sum­ma­rize, under these con­di­tions, if their kin in Switzer­land, their uncle and aunt, request a fam­i­ly regroup­ing pri­or to obtain­ing their res­i­den­cy per­mit as refugees, their request has no chance of being considered.

Accord­ing to lawyers, if the chil­dren make their request through lawyers, it will be treat­ed in Greece but con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent sta­tus of their rel­a­tives in Switzer­land, the pros­e­cu­tor will prob­a­bly assign the chil­dren to an orphanage.

The only solu­tion for the chil­dren to rapid­ly cross the bureau­crat­ic wall would be for the pro­ce­dure of their aunt and uncle in Switzer­land to move ahead as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. This is why Hıznî Ekrem Ali has sol­licit­ed the Swiss author­i­ties, pre­sent­ed his sis­ter-in-law’s death cer­tifi­cate and request­ed the accel­er­a­tion of pro­ce­dures. Fol­low­ing this, the cou­ple and their niece were trans­ferred from the refugee camp where they were and shel­tered in a home in the can­ton of Zug. But the pro­ce­dure for the per­mit drags on…

On gurneys, among the patients

To this day, the chil­dren are under “pro­tec­tion”. But the Pedon Hos­pi­tal where they are shel­tered is not in the least bit adapt­ed to this “pro­tec­tive” role. At the hos­pi­tal, they sleep on gur­neys in a hall­way, between the patients.

The pho­to of the space where the chil­dren live is such that it shows the con­di­tions in which they find themselves.

lavrio hopital pedon

They ask for their big sister

The last time the chil­dren saw their moth­er, she was wound­ed. When they were first put under “pro­tec­tion”, they were not told of her death. The author­i­ties told them a few days lat­er. The only rel­a­tive to meet with the refugee chil­dren was a cousin of Evin, Ziyad Ali, who came from Switzer­land to Athens.

He says that the 11 year old boy tries to play the role of the eldest for the younger ones. “The author­i­ties told them their moth­er had died. But my 11 year old nephew told the small­er ones the infor­ma­tion was false, so they would­n’t be too unhap­py. Our moth­er is still in the hos­pi­tal, he told them”, adds Ziyad Ali. He said the chil­dren had asked to be with their big sis­ter and asked “when are they going to remove us from here.” Ziyad also insist­ed on the fact that the chil­dren’s suf­fer­ing would at least be par­tial­ly light­ened if they could join their uncle and their aunt.

He calls on Greek pub­lic opin­ion to fol­low the chil­dren’s sit­u­a­tion with the great­est care.

Women in the street

Kur­dish refugee women demon­strat­ed last Sun­day in Athens. They demand a heavy sen­tence for the author of this fem­i­ni­cide and that the admin­is­tra­tive obstruc­tions keep­ing the chil­dren from ben­e­fit­ing of fam­i­ly regroup­ing be lifted.

Fol­low­ing the march, dur­ing which were dis­played pho­tos of Evin and slo­gans denounc­ing vio­lence against women, three rep­re­sen­ta­tives des­ig­nat­ed by the demon­stra­tors went to the Greek Par­lia­ment and turned in a dossier to the atten­tion of Prokopis Pavlopou­los, the Par­lia­ment President.

lavrio refugiés

Keeping this topic in the news

Berçem Mor­d­eniz, one of the mem­bers of Athens Kur­dish Cul­tur­al Cen­tre pro­vid­ing legal aid to Evin Ali’s kin, says that the women are ter­ri­bly angered by what is going on.

Evin had to leave her coun­try with her chil­dren because of the war insti­gat­ed by the patri­ar­cal men­tal­i­ty and she was assas­si­nat­ed here, by this same men­tal­i­ty. The thought to which she fell a vic­tim is exact­ly the same one as the bar­bar­ic male ide­ol­o­gy of ISIS that enslaves thou­sands of women. The fact Evin received 16 knife wounds in front of her chil­dren and that the killer’s fam­i­ly express­es pride in this crime, also belongs to this same men­tal­i­ty. Today, in all the coun­tries sub­ject­ed to war, women are mas­sa­cred. Not for noth­ing do they order “kill the women first”. Because they are tru­ly afraid of women and that is why the assas­si­na­tion of women is a polit­i­cal issue. If you turn to his­to­ry, in Egypt there were no wars for 20 years under Has­sep­sut, the first female pharao. But her name was nev­er reg­is­tered in a his­to­ry writ­ten by patri­ar­cal dominators.
This is why they are so afraid of wom­en’s strength, why they reject them, cre­ate wars and mas­sacre them. Today, we send a dead Evin back to her lands where she could not live as she wished. This gen­er­ates a very strong anger.”

Lifting the obstructions

Berçem Mor­d­eniz, a ped­a­gogue by train­ing, also talks about Evin’s chil­dren. She men­tions that she is very famil­iar with the con­di­tion in Greek orphan­ages, and that those con­di­tions are not adapt­ed to chil­dren’s health require­ments. She under­lines the fact that the chil­dren under “pro­tec­tion” are liv­ing on gur­neys in a hall­way… “If the chil­dren can­not be reunit­ed quick­ly with their eldest sis­ter, they will expe­ri­ence a new trau­ma due to the feel­ing of aban­don­ment. These lit­tle ones do not belong in an orphan­age or in a hos­pi­tal. We must­n’t for­get that these chil­dren have lived through war, some­thing they can­not for­get.” Berçem adds, “We demand that our requests con­cern­ing these chil­dren be answered as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, or we will begin a legal battle.”

Çağ­daş Kaplan


Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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