Greece: Mass hunger strike in Grevena prisons

Inmates of Grevena prisons, one of the worst penal establishments in Greece, have gone on mass hunger strike since Monday 11 of January “against the repressive intentions of the government and the breach of basic prisoners rights”.

Grevena prisons have come under the grip of a mass hunger strike by inmates since January 11. The 330 prisoners are demanding an immediate end to repression and breach of prisoners rights. In their communique they note:

  • The usual humiliating rectal control reigns [in the penal establishment], even for the shortest transfers for medical reasons. Whoever refuses to have the check is shut in isolation and faces disciplinary charges.
  • The demands for a leave are ignored and/ or their examination is outrageously delayed.
  • The disciplinary regime is reminiscent of the junta, as prisoners are persecuted for trivia.
  • Demands for a hearing are also ignored, even for individuals facing serious problems. There is no doctor for 330 prisoners. There is no secretariat for providing information and serving the needs of the prisoners.
  • The time schedule of visits changes randomly, and as a result the prisoners are denied the necessary contact with the outside world while relatives who perform long journeys to the isolated prisons are faced unexpectedly with not being able to see their enclosed kin.
  • Yard airing takes place in a far too small area for a far too short period of time. In the yard there are no exercise facilities for the free time of prisoners. Heating last only for one hour in the morning.
  • Prisoners are forced to buy everything, even good of basic need, which the prison should provide, like for example the pillow.
  • In the establishment’s super market there is no price list, and as a result the prisoners are subjected to arbitrary and illegal prices”.

The hunger strike comes as 14 months after the previous government’s pledge to total prison reform (as a result of a universal prison hunger strike in the country) and 4 months since the new government’s pledge to implement the reform immediately, greek prisons remain in a medieval state.

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