Athens: Anarchist solidarity initiative with prisoner Spyros Stratoulis, on hunger strike since 11/11

Banner drop in the town of Agrinio: “Against the vindictiveness of Power – Hunger strike (since 11/11) for life and dignity – Freedom for S.Stratoulis”

Comrade Spyros Stratoulis was incarcerated in Greek prisons at the age of 17, and has been held for nearly 22 years in a peculiar hostage situation. He has fought for two decades against the rottenness of the prison system, exposing its hypocritical face, and claiming dignity. The dozens of solidarity documents he has signed, his open denouncements of detention conditions, and his involvement in prison riots, hunger strikes and abstentions from prison food are indicative of his long struggle on the inside; and all this at great cost.

Despite his long incarceration, Spyros received days of leave from prison only in the past two years. From 2008 until 2010 he was held on remand, additionally to his sentence, because of his participation in the 2007 prison rebellion that was triggered across Greece when an anarchist prisoner (Yannis Dimitrakis) was beaten by jailers. This resulted in consecutive negative responses—describing Spyros as dangerous—to his requests for exit permits, as well as endless hours in solitary confinement.

In July 2012, the Thessaloniki police directorate unleashed a coordinated operation, during which cops raided homes, hangouts and squats, detaining and persecuting dozens of comrades on charges of involvement in an alleged criminal organization dubbed “Hangouts of Thessaloniki”. The mammoth indictment was based solely on records of phone tapping.

Almost a year later, in April 2013, imprisoned comrade Spyros Stratoulis was summoned by the investigating judge to testify as defendant in the case. Criminal proceedings against him were initiated on the basis of others’ gossiping in phone calls tapped by the police.

Although no remand or restrictive order was issued against him in relation to this case, the provision of article 55 (pending felony charges) of the Greek penitentiary code was automatically activated. Ever since this provision was applied, not only was he deprived of regular exit permits that he fought so hard to get, but he is also bound to remain hostage pending charges, with a high probability of having to serve the maximum prison sentence length, which is 25 years in Greece, awaiting trial in this particular case, while he would have otherwise been able to request his release on probation in September this year.

On Monday, November 11th, 2013 Spyros went on hunger strike, demanding that the aforementioned charges against him be dropped, and claiming his immediate acquittal by judicial decree in order to be granted days of leave again.

As an indicator of solidarity with the struggle of Spyros, three of his fellow prisoners launched a hunger strike, too, namely anarchist Rami Syrianos in the prison of Domokos as of 21/11, and Ergün Mustafa and Michalis Ramadanoglou in the prisons of Malandrino and Grevena, respectively, as of 25/11.

The combative stance and integrity that Spyros has demonstrated all these years can only make us stand beside him in his every fight for dignity and freedom.

We must not leave anyone alone in the hands of the State.

Immediate re-granting of exit permits to Spyros Stratoulis
Dismissal of all charges brought against him in this case

Initiative of anarchists for hunger striker Spyros Stratoulis

Wednesday, December 4th
PA’s gathering at 12pm in Monastiraki Square, Athens
Open assembly at 7.30pm in the Athens Polytechnic School

Saturday, December 7th
Solidarity demonstration at 12pm in Tachydromeiou Square, Larissa

Translators’ note:
Since the 27th of November, 22 prisoners from the 2nd section of Larissa prison as well as 13 prisoners from the Β1 wing of Grevena prison abstain from prison meals, in solidarity with the four hunger strikers, Spyros Stratoulis, Rami Syrianos, Ergün Mustafa and Michalis Ramadanoglou. Numerous statements and gestures have been communicated in solidarity with the struggle of Spyros Stratoulis, and diverse actions are scheduled for the coming days, with a solidarity action day all over Greece called for Wednesday, December 4th. Meanwhile, supporters report that prisoner Spyros Stratoulis was transferred to a hospital on the outskirts of the city of Larissa on the 2nd of December, but he was brought back to the prison of Larissa the next day (3/12).