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Inmate Dimakis on 30. day of hunger & thirst strike over right to education

Thirty days ago, convict Vassilis Dimakis started a hunger strike and twenty two days later also a thirst strike claiming his right for educations. While Dimakis’ health condition is at critical point, the Courts and Prison Councils have already denied him educational permitting, the third one his lawyers have submitted.

The Prison Council was supposed to take a decision on Friday, but it postponed him for next Monday.

Dimakis, a Political Sciences student in the Law University of Athens, is requesting to be allowed to attend classes at the Law School wearing ankle monitor. E-learning is not possible.

While social pressure is increasing, the Justice Ministry issued a statement saying it was not in charge for such decisions. The Ministry  added that the convict had violated parole conditions in the past.

Dimakis described the Ministry statement as “malevolent” and stressed that he denies his trasnfer to a hospital where he could be exposed to enforced feeding.

39-year-old Vassilis Dimakis has been in prison for the last 17 years. He has been convicted for robberies. First time he was convicted was in 1998 for a crime he committed as “underage” protecting his also under-aged sister. He served his sentence was was set free. He returned to prison after the robberies he committed a few years later. He has spent the largest part of his adolescence life behind bars. He faced the thought of suicide but found a way out in education. While in prison, he finished secondary education in the prison school, successfully passed the exams for entrance in university. He was such a good student that he also received the congratulations by Justice Minister, Stavros Kontonis. Dimakis passed all the necessary exams in the first year of his university studies. that was the precondition for be granted educational permits.

But then the problems started. Authorities claim that he can attend classes via e-learning.

23 SYRIZA lawmakers, among them 3 former ministers, have written a letter to Justice  Minister saying e-learning is not possible as internet access is limited to one hour per week.

Dimakis has been in prison hospital but denying any medical assistance or even been examined by doctors.

A petition has been launched by students, several human rights organizations, teachers, but also the Human Rights department of SYRIZA.  The petition calls on a last minute intervention by the Justice Minister.

Students in Solidarity Protest with Dimakis  on Friday.

The absurdity of “justice” kills the hunger and thirst striker Vassilis Dimakis, wrote daily efsyn.

It is worth noting that Kontonis was appealing to New Democracy Justice Minister Athenasiou in 2014, when young convict Nikos Romanos was on hunger strike claiming his right for education.

Will the Greek government and justice ministry allow a convict to die in prison?

UPDATE: later on Saturday, it became known that Dimakis is ending the hunger and thirst strike after a representative from the Justice Ministry assured him that he will have immediate access to the University.

The striker accepted to be transferred to the hospital.

Let’s see that the Ministry keeps its :”assurances.”

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