M.T. is in prison. He has “illegally” managed to obtain a mobile phone. He is the one who has brought the unspeakable conditions of detention into the public eye. A hospital where people die because of lack of care. M.T. is seropositive for the last 25 years. He had AIDS seven years ago, which was followed by tuberculosis two and a half years later. “A present you get from prison”, he emphasized. He doesn’t complain, he fights back: “I’m still alive but 23 inmates died within the last two and a half years. There is complete lack of care.” The report of the E.U. Committee for the Prevention of Torture that was made public this week says the same. Besides the numerous cases of police violence in custody that without a shadow of a doubt highlight violations of the Article 3 of the E.U. Convention (prohibition of inhumane and degrading treatment), there is also a violation of the right to life within Greek prisons. M.T. is very proud. Along with other prisoners he took his case to the E.U. Court of Human Rights : “I don’t know if I ‘ll still be alive during the trial but at least I will have bugged them until the end”.
Prisoners were the first victims of budget cuts during the Greek crisis. The meal portions provided in prison have been reduced by half, there is practically no heating or hot water. Regarding healthcare provision there is only one doctor and one nurse available from 7:30 to 13:00 to look after 2500 inmates, 200 of which are seropositive. “Then, it is up to the guards to decide whether you get to go to a hospital or not.” 60% of detainees are resourceless… Their families cannot come to visit because of lack of money and as a result they receive less packages and can’t communicate with the outside world. The seropositive prisoners are confined for 12 hours every day in their cells. MT is confined at the purgatory (“kolastirio”), which is packed with people whose conditions are worse than his: “We are condemned to die in a country where the death penalty was abolished”.
Originally published on Charlie Hebdo
Editing: Angelique Kourounis