Athens: Declaration of the members of Revolutionary Struggle about Stella Antoniou

freedom for stella antoniou (solidarity banner in thessaloniki)

Anarchist Stella Antoniou has been under pretrial detention in Koridallos prisons since December 4th, 2010, arrested along with Kostas Sakkas, Alexandros Mitroussias and Giorgos Karagiannidis. The accusation under which the State keeps her in prison is the alleged participation in an armed organization. Initially and for a while, this organization was not even named. Eventually, and since it was necessary for the accusation to stand that the organization was in existence, the case of these comrades was incorporated into the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire case.

Stella Antoniou herself denies the charges and defends her political choice to actively stand in solidarity to Alexandros Mitroussias who was wanted by the authorities prior to the arrests. This choice together with her political actions and views are the real reasons that the State keeps her imprisoned.

She was arrested facing a serious health problem, which has worsened dangerously in prison. Those who have been detained in Greek prisons will know that even minor illnesses cannot be addressed because of the system’s indifference to the health of prisoners. The deficit is substantial in medical care in prisons and is increasing due to the economic crisis, making it practically impossible to deal with the simplest of health problems within the walls.

Stella Antoniou does not only have to deal with the appalling conditions of health care provided by the system. Every effort for an effective medical examination by a public hospital is wrecked under the weight of the police operation that accompanies all transfers to and from the hospital. The presence of a large police force, the usual expectation that armed guards be present inside the premises where the examinations are carried out, even when their presence offends the very dignity of the prisoner, are elements that make for a torturous process itself; it also makes it very difficult or at times impossible for the doctors to conduct the tests. The three of us have also experienced similar situations on several occasions and know firsthand the special treatment of political prisoners in these processes.

The culmination of this vindictive obstruction of her medical examination by the cops, who are of course under command of their political bosses, was the fact that her latest transfers were conducted exclusively by special anti-terrorist units (EKAM), who refused to talk to the doctors, and just called off the examinations. This has no precedent in any other prisoner’s case. The result of these repressive tactics of the State is that our comrade does not have medical tests anymore, since their importance has been completely invalidated.

The continued denial of the prosecution and investigation authorities to release Stella Antoniou — although it is widely known that her health condition not only cannot be treated in prison but is further deteriorating — is the culmination of vindictive state practice for political prisoners who are imprisoned for alleged involvement in an armed organization, regardless of the existence or not of evidence against them, regardless of their acceptance or not of participation. For, in this case, the authorities know that they sign Stella’s death penalty with her prolonged detention and continued denials of her release applications.

Our comrade deserves the solidarity of all struggling people, not only because she faces a serious health problem. What makes Stella Antoniou special is that in the prison cells of the regime she is a fighter. Despite her serious health condition she has never stopped fighting claims for better conditions for all prisoners. She never ceases to struggle against the very system of prisons. She never stops looking for an approach to collective action and struggle against the internment of people and the conditions this confinement imposes.

Together with Stella Antoniou we fought through open collective processes and together with many women and men inmates we organized and carried out a unique in the history of Greek prisons political mobilization against the junta of the Troika and the Greek government to mark the passing of the ‘mid-term memorandum’ in June 2011. This and many other moments of struggle in prisons are the most important political legacy that political prisoners leave behind during their captivity by the State. And this comrade has already left many such legacies.

Finally we must note that the terms of solidarity set by Stella Antoniou highlight the quality of her struggle, since it does not fit into charity molds and, moreover, cannot conform to mainstream and authoritarian practices of any kind.

For all this, a solidarity movement for Stella Antoniou is bound to have the militancy corresponding to her struggle and the massiveness necessary for her immediate release.

For all these reasons, Stella Antoniou deserves our solidarity; above all because she is a freedom fighter.

The members of Revolutionary Struggle
Pola Roupa, Kostas Gournas, Nikos Maziotis
[February 2012]