We, the prisoners confined in the prisons of the Greek state decided to combine our strength and overcome the artificial dividing lines posed by nationality and religion -which we might or might not have- in order to assert a series of demands which concern a battlefront that creates a rupture with an increasingly tough penal policy.
Our demands concern these issues: to establish the provisions of law 4322/2015, to abolish the power of prosecutorial veto in the institution of furloughs and to abolish mandatory cumulative sentences when certain violations occur in prison, during furloughs or in instances of violation of furlough regulations.
Let us examine the demands analytically and comprehend why these are the corner stones of conflict against an effort to create a stricter legal framework which will work against prisoners as a whole.
Making the provisions of law 4322/2015 permanent since this concerns decarceration, is a small but important rupture that goes against the increasing unaccountability of judges towards prisoners. Non-existent criminal organizations, trials without actual evidence, destructive sentences, racist treatment of immigrant prisoners, are a nexus of class discrimination which completes the quote that says that »justice is like a snake, it only bites the barefoot». Through the struggle to establish the provisions of the law 4322/2105 without restrictions or exceptions, we are trying to fight against unreasonable and abusive judicial rulings especially when it comes to the issue of parole- which is rarely granted and thus creates a regime of extended captivity.
The abolition of the prosecutorial veto as part of the institution of furloughs means to abolish an unreasonable law promoted by the former New Democracy Minister Nicos Dendias who gave prosecutors excessive power in correctional facilities. The authorities regarded competent to evaluate prisoners’ behaviour are individuals who observe them and have some kind of contact with them (prison managers, social workers). The only contact prosecutors have with prisoners is strictly limited during disciplinary council hearings or furlough provision council meetings. How is it possible for the judgement of prosecutors to be a decisive factor when he/she has no interaction with prisoners? How is it possible to have instances where the majority of council members vote in favour but prisoners are never granted furloughs on account of a prosecutor who exercised his veto power. We demand the abolition of the prosecutorial veto so that prison councils could have a purpose otherwise they might as well be abolished and have their authority transferred onto prosecutors so that things would finally appear as they truly are.
The abolition of this law, which concerns cumulative sentences for specific violations during furloughs or within prisons or when regulations concerning furloughs are violated, is an actual necessity in order to put a stop to the creation of a legal monstrosity which aims to re-introduce people back to prison through the back door and keep them locked up for the rest of their lives. There is no exaggeration in what was just said. This law punishes resistance and revolt within prison in a shameless and destructive manner while these are events that could be easily triggered within specific circumstances. Any conviction for participating in acts of resistance could result in sentences that must be served immediately after the completion of one’s current prison sentence without the possibility to merge sentences. The same goes for violations during furloughs or furlough regulations and since sentences cannot be merged, prisoners are forced to serve two separate sentences. The vindictive stance of the judiciary and the police in the instances described above will lead to lengthy sentences that exceed prisoners’ life expectancy, just because the latter refused to comply with some unreasonable demands made by prison guards or violated furlough regulations.
Through this struggle we ask for the mobilization of the segments of society that remain active in social struggles and understand the unfair and arbitrary treatment of prisoners. Also, we seek the collectivization of this struggle across all prisons in the country.
This is the reason why we decided to create a Coordinating Struggle Committee which will express the opinions of prisoners from each participating prison.
The co-ordinating struggle committee will issue announcements regarding the development of the struggle and seek to establish communication and interaction with non-prisoners who will choose to stand in solidarity with our struggle.
At first we seek to collectivize our struggle so we begin by refusing to comply with the midday lock down (12:00 – 15:00) and wait to see whether prisoners in other correctional institutions will follow in order to be able to evaluate our strength and escalate our actions.
VICTORY TO THE STRUGGLE OF PRISONERS
Co-ordinating struggle committee, Korydallos Prison, Sections A B C D