Thu | Feb 25, 2021

Greek prison hunger strike continues despite concessions

Published:Thursday | April 2, 2015 | 12:00 AMAP

Supporters of 21 hunger strikers in Greek prisons said yesterday they have refused to give up their monthlong protest against anti-terrorism laws, despite concessions promised by the country's new left-wing government.

The hunger strike, led by inmates convicted of participation in armed anarchist and far-left groups, started on March 2 and has triggered dozens of protests, including the occupation of the governing Syriza party headquarters and a pro-Syriza Athens radio station.

"Several of the hunger strikers have been moved from prison to the hospital and are in very serious condition," said Olga Kosmopoulou, a doctor from the support group Initiative for Prison Rights.

"They are are playing Russian roulette with their lives."

The inmates are demanding the closure of new so-called "Type C" maximum security prisons, and changes to anti-terrorism laws which they argue violate fair-trial rights.

Anti-terrorism laws have steadily become more severe over a decades-long struggle against domestic groups that carried out a range of violent activities from minor arson attacks to deadly bombings and assassinations.

Anni Paparoussou, a lawyer with the prison support group, said many of Greece's more recent terrorism cases are based on DNA evidence that she argued is presented without any independent oversight.