Greece: Solidarity with our comrade Panagiotis Aspiotis

The anarchist Panagiotis Aspiotis – currently incarcearated in Korydallos prison- has been on hunger strike since Wednesday 22nd of March, protesting against the rejection of his application to study at the public Institute of Vocational Training (IVT) of Korydallos prison despite being fully eligible. A few days ago, four more prisoners joined the hunger strike for the same reason.

In his previous application for a prison transfer, P. Aspiotis invoked educational purposes – since he’d been admitted to the IVT of Korydallos prison- as well as personal reasons related to his access to communication with his partner and newborn child. The rejection of his applications doesn’t take us by surprise, really, given that the Ministry of Justice- in loyal cooperation with the public prosecutor of the Prison Council, Stamatina Perimeni- have long dropped the masks that veiled their fascist mindset. This time, the legally ungrounded reasons they’re invoking in order to deprive P. Aspiotis and all the other hunger strikers of their right to study at the IVT is that the prisoners are registered in prisons other than Korrydallos. This is an action that undermines the very operation of the IVT itself as out of  21 successful applicants who were admitted to the IVT courses only 9 were granted permission to attend. It’s not a coincidence, either, that the same prosecutor – who comes across as a nostalgic supporter of the Makronisos exile camps- is the one who has repeatedly rejected K. Gournas’ and D. Koufontinas’ applications for a leave, demanding vows of repentance.

The rejection of these applications by these loyal proxies of the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government constitute a flagrant violation of the prisoners’ rights and an attempt to intensify their social marginalization. Their well-advertised, yet ostensible, pledges on general improvement of the living conditions of the prisoners as well as the more specific provisions for the creation of “second-chance schools” and IVTs, aired by the Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Public Justice (E. Fytrakis) a couple of months earlier, soon proved to be empty promises and yet another media-oriented campaign just to appease the prisoners and silence any assertion of human rights to this direction.

This government is yet another government that deceives the public, promotes and protects the interests of the economic elites, impoverishes the people by curtailing wages and pensions, donates property and housing facilities to banks and big companies and puts public assets on sale to satisfy the ravenous appetite of international corporations. They carry out their predecessors’ plans with excessive zeal by scrapping any social sensitivity they might have preached and intensifying their schemes of oppression.

The case of P. Aspiotis is a blatant manifestation of the vindictiveness, hypocrisy and authoritarianism of the state’s law enforcement mechanisms. In February 2016 the comrade was seriously injured by the men of the Counter-terrorism Unit force after his refusal to provide DNA sample and, as a “natural” consequence, the Counter-terrorism Unit brings him to trial on 6/4 at the court of Evelpidon street [in Athens]. It’s worth noting that the public prosecution provisions on forced DNA sample collection were officially, if only theoretically, terminated after the hard and ardent struggle of the political prisoners who went on hunger strike in March 2015.

Our comrade, P. Aspiotis, and all the other prisoners who are taking part in this lengthy hunger strike are defending the fundamental human right to access to education and their only weapon is their bodies and their very life. The Ministry of Justice together with the prosecutor deliberately play for time so that the hunger strike will be over and the prisoners’ demands will remain unfulfilled. S. Perimeni, E. Fytrakis and the Minister of Public Justice, S. Kontonis, use the health and life of the prisoners in their manipulations and subject them to a systematic torture. They are to be held accountable for their lives. Our comrade, P. Aspiotis, is not alone! They’d better get prepared for a proportionate reaction to the outcome of their actions!

In solidarity with our comrade P. Aspiotis and the other hunger strikers.

We protest for an immediate fulfillment of their demand to study at the IVT of Korydallos prison.

(We call everyone to gather in solidarity with the hunger striker P. Aspiotis: 6/4 at the court of Evelpidon street, 9 a.m.)

The initiative for solidarity to P. Aspiotis and all other hunger strikers

in German