Wednesday, April 25, 2007

UPRISINGS IN GREEK PRISONS


Tension seems to be easing at Greek prisons, according to some reports, after uprisings in prisons spread across the country this week. Police intervention at Malandrinos prison this morning forced some inmates to return to their cells. However, at that prison a group of prisoners remain on the building’s roof armed with makeshift weapons and are still demanding better living conditions.

On Corfu, the inmates returned to their cells following the police’s intervention.

A justice ministry spokesman said "order has been fully restored" at the high security Korydallos Prison in Athens, where police fired tear gas and stun grenades.

Greek authorities also claim the police intervention has put an end to the revolt at the detention centres in Thessaloniki and Trikala.

Police also intervened to take inmates back to their cells at a prison in Patras, southwestern Greece, and were on standby outside other penitentiaries. A police raid is due to take place in Larissa and Corfu soon, they say.

Disgraceful holding conditions, lack of water, regular beatings, electronic surveillance and the extremely short time they are allowed outside their cells is the reality for many Greek prisoners.

In solidarity with the prisoners there were actions outside the residency of the greek president where 150 anarchists gathered, and in Thessaloniki where the following statement entitled THE DICTATORSHIP OF DETENTION IS A REFLECTION OF DEMOCRACY was released:

A revolt is taking place at two wings of the Malandrino Prison, following the beating of anarchist Yiannis Dimitrakis by prison guards earlier on the day.
Democracy beats up, tortures, murders and degrades the hostages in its inferno-like prisons.

Exterminating detention conditions; lack of water; regular beatings, surveillance cameras, architecture of violence, inhumanely short time allowed in the outside yards are all regular features of the Malandrino Prison, only temporarily broken thanks to the il-legal break offered by revolt.

Nothing has been offered to us by the humanitarian fa├žade of democracy's executioners; everything has been won by the screams of those in revolt, those standing on the rooftops of their prisons.

SOLIDARITY WITH THE REVOLTED PRISONERS OF MALANDRINO

SOLIDARITY WITH THE IMPRISONED HOSTAGES OF DEMOCRACY

Others actions are planned for tonight including one at Omonia Square in Athens.

The following article is from Ekathimerini (Greece)

Prison unrest spreads across the country

Prisoners in at least nine jails yesterday staged protests about the conditions in which they are being held, prompting riot police to move into Korydallos Prison, Greece’s largest jail, in Athens to quell a demonstration amid fears that some inmates were trying to escape.

In one of the widest protests of its kind, prisoners at Diavata Prison in Thessaloniki, Aghios Stefanos Jail in Patras as well as facilities in Trikala, Komotini, Hania, Larissa and on the island of Corfu refused to eat or to return to their cells.

In some cases, such as at Korydallos, inmates climbed onto the roof of the prison. Prison guards had earlier prevented convicts from using the exercise yards because they feared copycat protests.

Some inmates, however, made it onto the roof and began tearing down barbed-wire fences. Riot police used tear gas to force the prisoners back into the jail. Seven inmates were slightly injured in the process.

The demonstrations were sparked by a protest at the maximum-security Malandrino Prison in central Greece that began on Monday. Prisoners there refused to return to their cells and then went onto the roof and began voicing demands.

They said that they were protesting conditions at the jail. They also alleged that prison guards had beaten one of the inmates. Authorities denied the claims.

The inmate in question, Yiannis Dimitrakis, is one of the highest-profile prisoners at the jail. The 29-year-old was one of the so-called “robbers in black” that staged an armed robbery on a National Bank branch in central Athens last January that led to three people being injured in the ensuing shootout.

Some 460 people are being held in Malandrino, which only has a capacity of 280 inmates.

Almost all of the inmates had climbed onto the roof yesterday. They demanded better conditions and the reduction of life sentences to 12-year terms and changes to other sentences.

Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras acknowledged that the facilities at Greek prisons had to be improved but he said there was no room for debate on sentencing.

“The government will not negotiate upholding the law… but we are willing to listen to prisoners’ grievances,” he said.

Overcrowding is a feature of most Greek jails. The government has so far completed one of the five new jails that are being built to ease the problem. Greece is also financing the construction of a new prison in Albania so Albanian nationals can serve their sentences there rather than in Greek institutions.

No comments: