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Major Spyros Moustaklis (Greek: Σπύρος Μουστακλής) (1926, Missolonghi–1986) was an officer of the Greek Army. During the military junta years in Greece, he actively opposed the dictatorship and suffered permanent damage as the result of torture, making him a symbol of the anti-junta resistance.[1]

Prosecutor: They beat you?

Moustaklis: Pat . . Pat . . Pat.

Prosecutor: On the throat?

Moustaklis: Yes, yes.

Prosecutor: That's enough. We'll stop the questioning. I think it's enough.

From the transcript of the first trial of the ESA torturers.[2]

A graduate of the Hellenic Military Academy, Moustaklis was one of the few Army officers that took part in the attempted Navy revolt in 1973 against the Papadopoulos junta. After the revolt was betrayed and suppressed, he was arrested and tortured by the Greek Military Police in the torture chambers of EAT/ESA. He was arrested on 22 May 1973 and stayed at the EAT/ESA torture centre for 47 days, but despite the efforts of his interrogators, he did not betray his colleagues.[3] During a torture session he suffered brain trauma after a violent blow to his carotid artery and was subsequently rushed to hospital in a vegetative state. His life was saved, but he was left paralyzed for the rest of his life.[3][4][5] Only following physiotherapy and rehabilitation for five months he was able to regain limited movement.[4]

After the fall of the junta he became close friends with another resistance hero, Alexandros Panagoulis.[4] The brain damage he sustained proved to be permanent and he never regained his ability to speak.[3][6] His emotional state froze permanently to the state he was during his torture and he was known to curse his torturers and reenact the traumatic experiences of his captivity for the rest of his life.[4] Despite that, years after the restoration of democracy, when asked during a documentary if he broke during interrogation, he was able to move his hands, in an animated fashion,[3] to indicate that he did not.[3]

Posthumously, the Greek State dedicated a memorial to him as recognition of his contribution to the struggle for democracy in Greece.[7]

Citations and notesEdit

  1. PASOK tribute to anti-junta resistance Quote: This reform is an important moments in the back of antidiktatorikis wrestling with reference to the organizations who resisted the junta already from the first day of enforcement, the events during the funeral of Georgios Papandreou, in important ways the freedom struggle as the Alexandros Panagoulis, Moustaklis and Flora, in the responsibilities of the junta for the Cyprus tragedy and the heroic Movement Navy with interviews from some of the originators. [sic] (Translation by Google)
    original Greek version through Internet Archive
  2. Torture in Greece The First Torturers' Trial Published by Amnesty International Publications 1977 p. 45 First published April 1977 ISBN 0-900058-42-0, AI Index Number: PUB 61/00/77
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Kathimerini on Moustaklis Quote: In response, three images, three people today do not live longer: the heroic antisminarchos Tasos Minis, o Kostas Kappos with kratires-wounds on his body and the exaflomenos tagmatarchis Spiros Moustaklis, disabled by torture, paralyzed, without voice. Οταν όμως τον ρωτούν «αν έσπασε, αν μίλησε», κουνάει αρνητικά και με πάθος τα χέρια του. When I asked if «broke, whether spoken», negative waves and bent their hands. Αυτό το βουβό «όχι, όχι!» ήταν το πιο συγκλονιστικό κομμάτι της εκπομπής... This silent «no, no!» Was the most shocking piece of the broadcast... [sic] (Translation by Google)
    original Greek article
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Eleftherotypia on Moustaklis Quote: Τον ταγματάρχη Σπύρο Μουστακλή τον έφεραν φυτό στο ΚΑΤ το 1973. Συμμετείχε στο κίνημα του Ναυτικού και συνελήφθη στις 22 Μαΐου του 1973. Κρατητήρια. ΕΑΤ-ΕΣΑ. 47 ημέρες βασανιστήρια. (In Greek) Translation: They brought Tagmatarkhis Moustaklis to the hospital in a vegetative state in 1973. He took part in the Navy mutiny and was arrested on 22 May 1973 and: Από το Μάιο του 1973 έως τις 28 Απριλίου του 1986 που πέθανε δεν μίλησε ποτέ όπως όλοι οι άνθρωποι. Οι μόνες λέξεις που έβγαιναν από το στόμα του ήταν οι βρισιές που έλεγε στους βασανιστές του τις ώρες της φρίκης. Ηταν οι μόνες που έμειναν χαραγμένες στον εγκέφαλό του. Οι άλλες σβήστηκαν από τα χτυπήματα. Translation: From May 1973 to 28 April 1986 when he died he never spoke like all people do. The only words that came out of his mouth were the curses he used to tell his torturers during the hours of terror. They were the only ones that remained inscribed in his brain. The others were erased because of the beatings. and εξαιτίας του εγκεφαλικού που προκλήθηκε από βίαιο χτύπημα στην καρωτίδα. Translation: because of the stroke caused by a violent blow to the carotid artery
  5. Reportage without frontiers from ET (Greek National TV) Interview with Vice Admiral Konstantinos Dimitriadis Quote: The fai (editor's note:food) was filled with salt. Απειλές. Threats. Με απειλές, με τέτοια πράγματα και υβρεολόγιο. With threats, with such things and profanity. Νυχθημερόν να παίζει κάποιο ραδιόφωνο. Nychthimeron (ed note: Day and night the radio was playing) to play a radio. Ένα ραδιόφωνο με διάφορα τραγούδια εκείνης της εποχής και τα λοιπά. A radio with various songs of the time and so on. Και μαγνητόφωνα με κραυγές για να σπάσει το ηθικό, ας πούμε. And tape with cries to break the morale, say. (Editor's note: Tapes with screams to break the morale of the prisoners) Αυτά και βέβαια ορισμένοι, δεν υπέστησαν όλοι με τον ίδιο τρόπο την μείωση αυτή. Those are certainly some, not all were in the same way to reduce this. (Editor's note: Not all prisoners suffered this on the same level) Είχανε κάτι ζωστήρες. Eichane zostires something (editor's note: They had belts (for beating)). Το κορύφωμα βέβαια ήταν του Μουστακλή ο οποίος χτυπήθηκε άσχημα και βγήκε εκτός ο άνθρωπος. The culmination of the course was Moustaklis who severely beaten and got out of the man. Editor's note: The worst was Moustaklis who was beaten so badly he went mad [sic](Translation by Google with editor's notes for clarification)
    Original Greek interview
  6. Time Magazine archives Answering to History Quote: "Witness after witness testified that within a week of Papadopoulos' April 21, 1967, coup more than 8,000 had been arrested. Of these, 6,188 were banished into exile. Another 3,500 were subsequently sent to ESA torture centers. One prosecution witness, former Colonel Spyridon Moustaklis, 49, was unable to answer questions because brain damage caused by beatings had left him mute and semiparalyzed. Communicating by groans and gestures, glaring at the defendants, Moustaklis clumsily tore his shirt open to reveal the scars that marked his body. Said his wife: "We have a little girl who has never heard her father's voice." Verdicts on the 31 accused, which could lead to maximum sentences of 25 years, are due next month." Monday, Sep. 01, 1975 Retrieved 7 July 2008
  7. George Papandreou at Moustaklis' memorial

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