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Judges reject Romanos’ request; clashes in Athens over hunger-striker

The Judicial Council rejected on Wednesday morning the request of hunger-striker Nikos Romanos to be granted educational furloughs while in prison. With Justice showing a relentless face towards a convict on hunger strike claiming his right to education as foreseen by the law, media reported last night, that coalition government partner PASOK was allegedly preparing a special aw to satisfy Romanos’ request.

Citing judicial sources, Greek media report that the Judicial Council rejected Romano’s request for “typical reasons” as he did not met the criteria set by the law for educational furloughs and “therefore the JC did not get to the substance of the issue.

According to the same sources, in accordance with Article 50 of the penal code, the law requires the consent of the body that ordered the detention of the offender and that the recommendation of the court-investigator was negative.

The Special Court Investigator did not consent to Romanos’ request arguing that Romanos “must stay in prison until three law suits against him are been heard in court and that . (newsit.gr)

Together with three other young men involved in the bank robbery of Velvento (February 2013), Nikos Romanos was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment in October 2014 and at the same time the four were cleared of charges of “suspected terrorism.” It is not clear whether the Judicial Council and the court investigator refer a possible appeal to court decision by the prosecutor or whether there were other charges against Romanos.

Twenty-one-year-old Nikos Romanos, convict for bank robbery and declared ‘anarchist’, has been hospitalized since November 28th in an Athens hospital and is on the 24th day of his hunger strike. According to his family and doctor his health condition is deteriorating.

In a letter given to the media by his lawyer, Nikos Romanos assured that he will continue the hunger strike till the end – “struggle to victory or struggle to death” – and accused “the justice for following political orders.”

Political reactions

This morning on private STAR TV, lawmakers from conservative Nea Dimokratia (Markopoulos), left-wing SYRIZA (Tsoukalas) and Kountoura (Independent Greeks) supported Romanos’ request for education, pointing out the paranoia of the law to grant a convict the possibility to enter university exams but deprive him from attending classes.

Dimitris Tsoukalas said that “They let a 20-year-old die” and urged the “state to look at the issue during the day”. The SYRIZA MP even went so far to express the fear of many left-wings Greeks that the state is pushing the case to the edges and thus ahead of the anniversary of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos’ killing by a policeman on December 6th 2008.

Nikos Romanos was a friend of Grigoropoulos and the two 15-year-old were together that night in Exarchia district of Athens when a bullet put an end to the life of the boy for no reason.

Together with Romanos, 3 more young men convicted for the bank robbery of Velvento are on hunger-strike.

Solidarity

Solidarity groups have called for protest meetings today in Athens, Piraeus and several suburbs, while anarchists in Irakleio, Crete, have occupied the City Hall.

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Political parties, journalists, teachers and professors,  appeal to the government to find a solution. Fifteen  university professors from Piraeus urged the President of the Hellenic Republic to intervene in order to “avert a tragedy” as they stress in their appeal.

Clashes in Athens

On Tuesday night, a solidarity protest with Romanos ended in clashes with police , tear gas, arson of several vehicles and buses, 31 detentions and 12 arrests.

Video: riots and clashes on Dec 2/2014 in Exarchia

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A group of estimated 6,000 protesters marched through downtown Athens in solidarity with Romanos. the originally peaceful rally ended in Exarchia district with protesters flipping vehicles and putting them on fire and putting barricades on the streets. They set on fire a public bus.

Το λεωφορείο τυλίγεται στις φλόγες - ΦΩΤΟ -  NEWSIT

more pictures here

Riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the angry crowd. There are not confirmed information about injuries.

Video: marching through downtown Athens Dec 2/2014

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31 protesters were detained, 12 of them got arrested.

 More on Nikos Romanos and the other Hunger-strikers here

PS I don’t see how riots and arsoning vehicles could help Romanos’ request, but there is a lot of anger in Greece of the economic crisis…

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