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Romanos’ father meets PM: “Day by day death possibility increases”

Giorgos Romanos, the father of hunger-striker Nikos Romanos held a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Justice Minister Charalambos Athanasiou on Monday morning.  The meeting came up after a request by Romanos parents and did not bring any solution, despite the fact that the 21-year-old convict is on the 28th day of hunger-strike claiming educational furloughs.

Romanos’ father “Nikos health is critical, as hours and days pass the possibility of death is increasing . My child will continue the hunger-strike unless his request is accepted.”

Speaking to reporters after the short meeting he had with the PM and the JuMin, Giorgos Romanos said:

“So far no solution was found. I think they will discuss the problem again and I hope, they will find a solution. what I ask is that my child’s request is accepted but also on the human side I now speak as a father they should find a solution for the problem. My child will continue [the hunger-strike]  and a large part of the Greek society knows what is right.  At this stage, Nikos health is critical, as hours and days pass the possibility of death is increasing with whatever consequences for the government. The Prime Minister made no commitment.”

Nikos Romanos went on hunger-strike on November 10th after authorities denied him educational furloughs at the Athens Technical College, while they had previously allowed him to enter university and college exams. Romanos has been sentenced to almost 16 years imprisonment for an armed bank robbery together with three other young men. Charges against the four bank robbers being also “suspected to be members of an urban guerrilla groups” were dropped by a court last October.

Upon his arrest, Nikos Romanos declared, he was an anarchist. A fact that apparently pushed the state to treat him differently than other criminal convicts.

Nikos Romanos, son of a prominent Athens family, was 15 years old, when he eye-witnessed the killing of his friend of the same age Alexis Grigoropoulos fatally shot by a policeman and for no obvious reason.

Romanos was transferred from prison to an Athens hospital ten days ago, as his health condition started to deteriorate due to he hunger-strike.

Greek law does allows educational furloughs for convicts. However in the case of Romanos, the state is reluctant to grant them to him, claiming “fear that he might escape.”

Authorities still suffer from the fiasco with convicted terrorist and member of 17. November terror organization Christrodoulos Xeros, who went fugitive during a prison leave.

Last week, the Justice Ministry prepared a law modification according to which Romanos may attend university classes via teleconference. The modification is to brought to Parliament tomorrow Tuesday.

Nikos Romanos rejects this solution and has announced through his lawyer that will will even stop drinking water if this will pass. The hunger-striker opposed also the meeting of his father with the prime minister.

Media report that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Giorgos Romanos:

“As a parent I share the worries for your child’s health, but as a Prime Minister who respects the separation of powers I cannot interfere in Justice in any case.”

Samaras’ stance in the case became very clear on Sunday during the budget debate. The Prime Minister told SYRIZA’s Tsipras, “you praise a hunger-striker who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a bank robbery with kalansikof.”

After the Monday’s meeting, Justice Minister Charalambos Athanasiou informed the press that

“The Prime Minister heard what Romanos’s father had to say as a father himself. He asked him to psychologically support his child and ask him to stop the hunger-strike.I explained to him {Romanos father] the legal framework that exists and which is the most progressive in Europe, especially after the modifications we did for education at distance. Beyond this the Justice Minister and the Greek state in general cannot interfere any further.”

The case has divided with Greek society into those urging the government not to meet Romanos’ request and those urging for “a humane solution to save a child’s life.”

Dimitris Papadimoulis, SYRIZA MEP, stressed this morning on Skai TV the what he called “double standards of  Greek justice” and noted that “the same prosecutor who granted Lavrentiadis [convicted ex banker] prison release [for health reasons] denies Romanos an educational furlough.”

Quite a number of Greeks from the center- and left-wing warn that the death of Romanos would turn him into a symbol for resistance in the eyes of anarchists with dangerous consequences for the government, the society and a more repressive legislation.

PS ops! a friend of mine, mother of a 20-year-old, wonders what happened to the much praised “Samaras’ orders”…

 

 

 

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3 comments

  1. I really don’t get it. This spoiled brad robbed a bank. Got cought. Was convicted. Everywhere, in the whole world, you know one thing for sure: If you commit a crime and get jailed, this is it. End of story.

    Why in the whole world should this self declared “anarchist” (probably out of boredom) be treated differently?

  2. keeptalkinggreece

    according to the Greek penal code, prisoners have right to education. I suppose in other European countries as well.

  3. Maybe. But surely not to leave prison for that.