Greek prisons: Nationwide protest of prisoners struggling for human rights and dignity

December 10th 2010:

  • 1,200 prisoners on Hunger Strike
  • Seven Corfu prisoners sewed their mouths

  • Another prisoner died in Kassaveteia prison
  • No doctor in most prisons
  • Prisoners’ demands

Ongoing mobilizations in Greece’s prisons. More than 9,000 detainees and prisoners (out of a total prison population of approximately 12,600 nationwide) are struggling for human rights and dignity abstaining from the prison meals[1], while 1200 prisoners are on hunger strike right now!

Seven prisoners in Corfu prison sewed their mouths, while the number of prisoners on hunger strike is growing

On Thursday afternoon another prisoner[2] who abstained from the prison meals was murdered by the state on December 9th. The Bulgarian detainee had served his sentence and was “guest” (!) in Kassaveteia prisons. This prison has no doctor, like many others. For example, in Grevena prisons that the participation in hunger strike is large, the …Greek National Health System is represented entirely by a prisoner doctor, who is trying to address the multiple problems resulting from the hunger strike.

The Initiative for Prisoners’ Rights calls the Ministry of Justice to meet with the steering committee of the prisoners this critical time and provide solutions to their fair demands.

On Tuesday at 5pm there is a solidarity gathering in “Eleutherias square” in Korydallos (Athens) and then a march towards the prison.

Similar demonstrations will take place in other cities. So far the call has been made in Thessaloniki (Venizelos Statue at 4pm) and Larissa (3.30pm Neapoli Market)


Prisoners’ demands:

A call for solidarity by the Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners for the prisoners in Greek jails who are having a co-ordinated nationwide protest since Monday. Included are the demands of the prisoners.

Since Monday 29th November the prisoners in Greek jails have begun an abstention from mess, which is to escalate into a hunger strike, as a protest against the political indifference that they are experiencing. The prisoners, with a press release of the co-ordinating bodies of all the prisons-hellholes in the country, submit their demands (analytically in the enclosed list) for decongestion of the prisons, improvement in the conditions, real justice, less imprisonment:


1. To stop the abuse of pre-trial detention.

2. Reduction of the statutory upper limits to continuous imprisonment

3. Abolition of devastating sentences and wider application of the measure of probation/remission and conditional release

4. Legislation setting the upper time limit of the statute of limitation for disciplinary sentences at 6 months – for these not to be used as restraining factor for conditional release.

5. The abolition of the anti-terrorism law and the special terms of detention for political prisoners

6. Abolition of under age prisons and the establishment of structures of protection for underage offenders [translators’ note: we are unsure of the meaning ‘ανοιχτών δομών προστασίας’]

7. Immediate release of prisoners with special needs and those who suffer from chronic serious illnesses

8. Immigrant prisoners: (a)immediate and unconditional practice of their right to serve their sentence in their country of origin (b) immediate release of all those who are held for judicial or administrative deportation, c) immediate trying of all trials of greeks and immigrants in all degrees

9. Leave of absence: (a) granting of leaves of absence with the same preconditions for all, no to the unequal and discriminatory treatment, no to arbitrary rejections of applications. (b) increase in the duration of leave in all cases. c) granting of leaves at the 1/5th [of the sentence] for all offences and for all prisoners, including those who are serving sentences for drugs.

10. Improvement in conditions of imprisonment: (a) the right to dignity, health, education, communication, development of personality, free speech, exercise (b) the right to work, immediate opportunity of employment for those who wish to do so, without restrictions due to disciplinary measures c) increase of jobs and increase in the percentage accounted for the days worked [which is subtracted from the sentence] (d) application of measures alternative to imprisonment – expansion of the institution of rural prisons to include female prisoners (e) banning of physical examinations, especially vaginal and anal, (f) improvement of the conditions within holding areas, of transfers and of means of transport.

11. Abolition of monetary sentences (fines).

The Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners stands in solidarity with the just struggle of the prisoners and makes a call for individuals, collectives and organizations to an open meeting to coordinate our actions for the organisation of acts of solidarity for the prisoners’ struggle.

Saturday 4th December, 8 pm, Social Center – Meeting-place of Immigrants

Ermou 23 & Venizelou, Thessaloniki

Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners, Thessaloniki


[1] Abstaining from the prison meals means that the prisoners only rely on privately supplied food. In the prisons where no grocery stores are in operation, prisoners abstaining from meals are therefore on hunger strike by default.

[2] A 38-years-old detainee on hunger strike was also murdered by the state on December 4th in Korydallos prison.

sources: (updates in Greek),

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