One of the most haunting experiences of this trip was meeting Dana.
This was Dana's third time coming to Athens for this trial. Even though I went through official channels to inform the Greek government I wouldn't be attending the 2007 trial, no one told Dana, and she came. In 2009, when her embassy was told that I wouldn't be present, they didn't pass on the message, and she showed up once again. It eases my conscience a bit to know that the 2009 trial wasn't postponed due to my absence, but the defendant's, who was supposedly "too ill" that day to come to court.
But I never heard her story, as told by her, until this past Sunday. Sitting in the lawyer's office, listening to the translation of the statement she gave the police (and her corrections of it, as neither of our statements were recorded as we told them,) was insanely difficult. It so closely mirrored my own, yet also had its own, unique set of horrendous side stories.
But as twisted as it sounds, one of my greatest comforts in all of this was knowing that Dana is fighting the same fight.
Below, Dana's official statement.
"I am extremely disappointed and frustrated by yesterday's outcome. I feel that I have done everything that the Court has asked of me. Having been summoned to attend on four occasions [this includes the 2008 trial which was canceled due to a strike] and making arrangements on all of those four occasions, I have yet again been turned away without ANY progress in the case. In deferring our case because the defense lawyer has made a commitment to another case, no matter how significant, means that the Court prioritizes her time and commitments over my own and Natalie's.
It is not easy for us to attend and we also have commitments, including work commitments, which we forgo in order that we can attend. I feel that the defense lawyer has committed to a work load that she is not able to effectively manage and the Court's decision yesterday suggest that it supports that. Recognizing that the decision made yesterday cannot be reversed, I expect that when I attend once again in January 2011, that the Court will hear the case efficiently, effectively and to its conclusion."
I couldn't have said it better. Dana, thank you with everything I've got for being a part of this. Together we're greater than the sum of our parts. I have so much respect for you and the perseverance with which you've handled all of this. I know that with both of us on board, we're going to come out victorious.