The Greek anarchist prisoner Nikos Romanos as a contemporary Bobby Sands is on hunger strike for more than 3 weeks now. His main request is his educational furloughs which are being refused by the Greek state. Albeit the personal implication it has to be highlighted that this action consists a political activism against the new law concerning the rights and furloughs of the prisoners in Greece.
Nikos Romanos is one of the four who were arrested in their attempt to expropriate a bank (based on their anarchist beliefs), and were convicted of bank robbery last year. It is worth mentioning that during their arrest and the first days of their captivity he and his comrades were severely injured by the police forces. The severity of their deformed faces from the injuries and bruises was of such extent that the photographs released to the press were modified (by photoshop), in order to hide the results of the police brutality. Whilst imprisoned, Nikos Romanos attended the school unit in prison and he was successful at the national exams. As a result, he was granted the right to continue his studies at university level. His right to educational leaves is now being refused however due to restrictions of the novel law and under the excuses of high dangerousness and a high risk of escape.
All of the above is taking place in an ambience of radical political activities in Greece: The previous month the university students’ protests against the law and amendments in education which are aligned with the Neoliberal view of privatised education took place. All the protests were accompanied and stigmatised by the brutal and violent interventions of the riot police towards one of the most peaceful protests of all times in Greece. The hunger strikes of 4500 (the highest number was during July, 2014) prisoners for the annulment of their furloughs and the conditions of imprisonment. The hunger strike (still in progress) of the Syrian war-refugees who are trapped in Greece because of the European Union’s “Dublin-2” treaty, whilst they want to move to an EU country where they may commence their lives from scratch. A few days ago, the Lamentation-Anniversary of the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos, a close friend of Nikos Romanos (who was one of the carriers of his coffin during the burial ceremony) and victim of the Greek Police, who died by the gunfire of policeman Korkoneas on the 6th of December 2008. In the process of the protest, riot police injured a great number of protesters. Furthermore, many experienced journalists witnessed (they have provided photos and video) the activity of almost 200 undercover policemen. The journalists observed, filmed and photographed the undercover policemen (dressed like anarchists) originally among the riot police (whilst taking orders) and later provoking the riot police by throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, thus giving them the “right” to use excessive violence. Methods of a totalitarian dictatorship are applied, in the place where the concept of democracy was introduced to humanity.
Consequently, it is evident that the Greek government desires to send a clear message that anyone who stands against it will be brutally crushed. This can be seen by the following:
- In the case of Romanos where the violation of his human rights by forced feeding was ordered, a technique which is legitimate only in Guantanamo, though this action is forbidden by the Helsinki agreement on human rights since 1975.
- The police tactics during protests in Greece.
- The neglect to tackle and satisfy the demands of the Syrian refugees. Instead, their removal from the Syntagma square where they camp and protest was proposed.
- The oppressive stand towards the prisoners in Greece who are in a degraded quality of imprisonment, victims of the brutality of guards, with all theirs furloughs being cancelled, which had been acquired by personal effort and signs of good behaviour.
Hence, while raising awareness on the above serious issues of the human rights violation, we demand:
A priori the permission to Nikos Romanos whose life is in great danger by the long hunger strike, to study as he was supposed to, based on the Greek legislation.
A posteriori an immediate response and satisfaction of the requests of the Syrian Immigrants, the Prisoners and the Students by the Greek State. Responses which will be in consistency with the human rights declaration.
Liberty or Death.
The passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons!
REAL DEMOCRACY NOW EDINBURGH (GR)