Prisons: Neither Security nor Rights

The recent torture and death of a prisoner by State security guards has left no doubt that reform is needed in Greek's prison system.

The recent grievous events of State agents torturing a prisoner to death - as the “punishment” for the brutal murder of a prison officer - leave no doubt that neither rights nor security exist in Greek prisons. Prison degrades and/or enrages both the prisoners and the guards. The increase of the aforementioned effects caused by the actions of the security guards constitutes a definitive transition from the correction model to that of absolute elimination, if not to a rationale of extreme vengeance.

Greek prisons constitute a peculiar experiment: they depict the stable and firm practice of the State on sustaining an area deprived of any notion of human rights and dignity.

The Hellenic League for Human Rights has repeatedly stressed the need to change the country's prison standards, specifically regarding: expansion of prisoners’ rights and the practice of day-release; and restriction of the extremely intolerable measure of remand and materialization of an effective decongesting of prisons. This change shall not take place through temporary and occasional measures that make the State look like a generous ruler, but by implementing a policy targeting a streamlined framework on penalties, the abolishment of minor offenses, etc.

In the interview, the following members took part: Kostis Papaioannou, President of the National Commission for Human Rights; Vasiliki Katrivanou, SYRIZA MP; Ant. Antanasiotis, member of the Board of Directors of ABA (Athens Bar Association) on behalf of KKE; Vaggelis Mallios, lawyer and Secretary General of the Hellenic League for Human Rights; and Afroditi Babasi, representative of the Prisoners’ Rights Initiative. The event was moderated by Cleo Papapantoleon, lawyer and Vice-President of the Hellenic League for Human Rights.

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