The right to education is inalienable and for whatever happens to the health of Nikos Romanos and his friends on hunger-strike responsible will be the Ministry of Justice and Minister Charalampos Athanasiou. That was the main idea of the press conference held on Tuesday by the parents of Nikos Romanos and Yiannis Michailidis,on hunger-strike since beginning of November claiming their right to education despite being convicted bank robbers. In addition, Romanos and Michailidis are been considered as political prisoners as they have both declared to be anarchists.
In the hall of a movie theater bursting from people, the father of Romanos said that “Nikos is at risk to die for his ideas, for the things he believes. He must get a quality response to his access to education. No one can make brinkmanship with the bodies of others. “
Yiannis Michailidis’ mother that another 6 political prisoners have been deprived of their right to attend university and college classes and stressed that
“The government operates punitive. You can not leave education outside the penal system. It is an inalienable right and nobody is entitled to deprive someone asking for it.”
“I make an appeal as a father to allow political prisoners to attend education classes. They try to eliminate our children,” Michailidis father said.
Romanos’ and Michailidis’ parents during press conference . More pictures here.
Nikos Romanos, Yiannis Michailidis, Andreas Bourzoukos and Dimitris Politis were arrested by Greek police after a bank robbery in Velvento, Northern Greece in February 2013. They were suspected to be members of the urban guerrilla Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, however a Greek court sentenced them to 15016 years imprisonment only for the bank robbery and dropped the “terrorism” charges brought against them.
Nikos Romanos, 21, went on hunger strike on November 10th, when he was deprived from his right to attend technical college classes, despite the fact that he was allowed to attend university entrance exams. Yiannis Michailidis, 21, went on hunger-strike on November 17th out of solidarity with Romanos. Also the other other convicts in the same case, Politis and Bourzoukos went reportedly on hunger-strike on December 1st.
“Romanos has already lost 15% of his body weight,” said general practitioner Lina Vergopoulou who is also the mother of Bourzoukos. “During hunger-strikes, the time of death depends on the endurance of the body,” Vergopoulou added.
Over the weekend, both Romanos and Michailidis were transferred to Athens and Piraeus hospitals respectively under strong police custody. According to Vergopoulou Romanos’ health is deteriorating.
Despite the critical health condition, the prison prosecutor already denied twice the educational furlough for Romanos.
Education and Justice Ministers throw the ball to each other and the crucial decision on educational furloughs for Romanos is expected to be taken by the Council of Judges in Piraeus later Tuesday or Wednesday.
Doctors reject force feeding
The prison prosecutor had ordered “force feeding“, a practice that is being considered as torture.
The Union of Hospital Doctors in Athens and Piraues (EINAP) vehemently refused to comply with orders for force feeding and said so in a statement, blaming at the same time the state for having problems with prisoners on hunger-strike and for not knowing how to deal with such situations.
“According to the medical code of ethics, no physician is entitled to act contrary to the will of the patient,” EINAP stressed in the statement.
Solidarity and protests
Left political parties like SYRIZA and Democratic Left as well as PM Samaras’ coalition partner PASOK expressed the necessity for Romanos to study.
Anarchists groups and supporters have launched several protests not only outside the hospital where Romanos is laying.
More on Who is Nikos Romanos and the Velvento case here