Political prisoner Demetris Koufontinas on hunger-strike from today


Political prisoner Demetris Koufontinas has announced his intention to carry-out a hunger-strike and stop his prescribed medications until his demand to be relocated to a different prison ward is met by prison authorities.

The man who has become a hunger striker twice in 2015, had previously joined the collective hunger-strike against Type C detention facilities earlier this year. Four months after the abolition Type C supermax security prisons, Koufontinas was transferred to Avlona, which is a type B prison. Five days later an order was issued commanding his transfer to Domokos, a former supermax facility. In a letter sent to Athens-Indymedia, Koufontinas mentions that the secretary general of the Ministry of Justice who met with him, called this decision a security precaution, but according to Koufontinas this was off the record and unjustified. In a completely unexpected manner, the authorities announced a plan for yet another relocation on Monday: this time back to Korydallos, where he was imprisoned for the last 13 years. Koufontinas is now required to share the same space with corrupt politicians, police officers and judges serving their prison sentences there, something he is not willing to accept. Despite his request to be taken back to the ward he was previously confined, a place specifically allotted to political prisoners, the prison management has not made that possible yet. He is currently kept in the common areas of the men’s prison.

Last night, prisoners housed in ward ”A” along with political prisoners in the same facility refused confinement during lock-down as an action of solidarity with the demand made by D. Koufontinas. According to a post on Athens Indymedia there was a climate of tension inside the prison.

D. Koufontinas stated the following in a letter:
I don’t know who was annoyed from my five-day detention in a type B prison facility, a place where the usual third world conditions found in Greek prisons are very evident. Over there, I was at least able to see the skyline and the trees in the horizon which was a shock for me after 13 years of confinement in a dark tomb made of cement, a glorification of the so-called ”legal civilization” that promotes a regime of exclusion and special conditions of detention for political prisoners. The first left government in the country is aligned with all the other political powers in terms of the way political prisoners are treated.

As the prisoner has resorted to this form of protest again and again his health could be seriously impacted from the lack of nutrition that is necessary for survival. Considering his recent hospitalization in Lamia General Hospital at the end of July and the fact that he is receiving medication, means that the effect of the hunger strike on his body is a cause of concern. The prison management and competent government officials have to pay attention to the importance of respecting and satisfying the needs of prisoners and act accordingly. Moreover it seems as though Syriza is incapable to maintain the prison reform policies announced during the election campaign, since prisoners previously confined in supermaximum facilities still remain targeted by an unfair prison system.

Korydallos prison is managed in an extremely punitive and inhumane way which aggravates the suffering and trauma experienced by prisoners. A concomitant protest staged by female prisoners in the same facility has been taking place since the 22nd of June, as their cell-block is overpopulated by 300% and their yard is being replaced with the garbage site of the prison. Read more.

Sources are outlined in the Greek version of the article: Δ.Κουφοντίνας: Σε απεργία πείνας και αποχή φαρμάκων απο τις 4 Αυγούστου

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