Greek prison uprising spreads to women's jail
Women prisoners in Thiva, Greece have refused to return to their cells and early reports speak of fire inside the jail complex. The uprising is the second in as many days in Greece as yesterday inmates in Hania, Crete also refused to obey prison officer's orders and occupied parts of the jail in protest over conditions. According to latest accounts units of the riot police in Hania are on high alert and the situation remains tense as prisoners refused to be locked in their cells last night.
The incident in Thiva was sparked off by the death of a fellow inmate and activist, Katerina Goulioni under as yet undetermined circumstances while being transferred to another jail. The situation was further exacerbated when ministry of justice officials refused to allow inmates to talk with prison rights groups today.
According to other prisoners quoted in the national daily newspaper, Ta Nea Goulioni, was found dead with her hands bound behind her back and with blood on her face. She had taken a leading role in the prison hunger strike that took place last November and had campaigned viciferously against the policy of enforced body cavity searches in Greek jails. According to information provided by the Greek Ministry of Justice, Katerina Goulioni died of a heart attack. The official coronerâ€™s report is expected next week.
Reports from Indymedia Athens also speak of tensions in the maximum security Korydallos prison in the Greek capital with prisoners in several wings threatening hunger strike.
Last November nearly two thirds of prisoners in Greek jails boycotted food in protest over conditions. The action ended when the then minister of justice agreed to comply the inmates list of demands, however, prison rights groups charge the government has reneged on its agreement after Nikos Dendias took charge of the ministry of justice this year.
Conditions in the country's prison system have regularly been condemned by organisations such as Amnesty International and The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.