Protests and Vandalism Comply with Hit Man’s Starvation Strike

by -37 views

ATHENS — A monthslong starvation strike by a jailed hit man for Greece’s deadliest terrorist group has fueled vehement debate right here concerning the convict’s rights, with road protests and a barrage of arson assaults as a political struggle about him intensifies.

The hit man, Dimitris Koufodinas, 63, is serving 11 life sentences and commenced his starvation strike on Jan. 8, after the authorities rejected his demand for a jail switch. He was imprisoned for his position within the actions of a far-leftist guerrilla group often known as November 17 that was lively from 1975 to 2002.

The group killed 23 individuals, together with a C.I.A. station chief in Athens, a British army attaché and a number of other Greek businessmen, in addition to Pavlos Bakoyannis, the brother-in-law of the present conservative prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Mr. Koufodinas had requested a switch from a jail in central Greece to the Korydallos Jail in Athens, the place he was initially incarcerated in 2003 together with different members of November 17. He was moved into his present jail from a low-security facility in December.

The conservative authorities has refused to provide in, accusing the convicted man — who has efficiently used starvation strikes prior to now to press his calls for — of blackmail.

A press release issued by Mr. Mitsotakis’s workplace on Saturday, shortly after docs signaled that Mr. Koufodinas’s well being had significantly deteriorated, mentioned the federal government wouldn’t allow “preferential remedy and violations of the legislation.”

Because the standoff intensified, Mr. Koufodinas’s lawyer, Ioanna Kourtovik, on Wednesday accused the federal government of vindictive and unlawful techniques, saying she had lodged a authorized enchantment for her shopper’s sentence to be suspended. “His life is in danger,” she advised Greek tv.

The federal government’s exhausting line and the convict’s deteriorating well being have caught the eye of leftist sympathizers and the Greek institution.

As his starvation strike entered its 54th day on Tuesday, hundreds of individuals rallied in his help in Athens for the second day in a row. Protests continued Wednesday.

The police had been out in pressure after a spate of vandalism by anarchists expressing solidarity with Mr. Koufodinas. Police stations within the capital have been pelted with do-it-yourself firebombs nearly every day for the previous two months.

The subject has dominated social media in Greece. A number of attorneys, teachers and journalists have complained that their Fb accounts have been restricted after they posted pictures of rallies in help of Mr. Koufodinas or expressed help for his rights.

The difficulty has divided Greek judges, with the nation’s union calling on the federal government to assessment its stance as different judges insist on impartiality. The family of November 17’s victims, nevertheless, have requested Mr. Koufodinas to cease his starvation strike, saying it’s raking up painful reminiscences.

Opposition events have appealed to the federal government to vary course. The leftist Syriza occasion warned that Greece “should not change into the primary European nation in 40 years to have a useless starvation striker,” whereas the center-left Motion for Change urged towards turning the convicted man right into a “image for battle.”

Nicknamed “poison hand” by the Greek media, Mr. Koufodinas is an unlikely martyr, having by no means expressed remorse for his actions with November 17. The group’s title derives from the date in 1973 when Greece’s oppressive army dictatorship quashed a pupil rebellion towards its rule, killing 23 individuals.

Some terrorism specialists concern the starvation strike might spur new violence because it galvanizes Greek anti-establishment teams. “These teams are already recruiting new members,” mentioned Mary Bossis, professor of worldwide safety on the College of Piraeus, close to Athens.

Within the occasion of his loss of life, she mentioned, “we might even see a resurgence of home terrorism.”

Ms. Bossis blamed the impasse over Mr. Koufodinas on the failure of Greek political events to succeed in a consensus on how one can cope with terrorism and convicted terrorists.

Some opposition lawmakers have argued {that a} legislation handed by the conservatives final 12 months permits a jail switch. The federal government has rebuffed this declare, criticizing the earlier leftist administration as being too lenient with Mr. Koufodinas, shifting him to a low-security agricultural jail in 2018 when he was granted a number of furloughs.

“For the reason that Nineteen Seventies, events argued about how one can deal with terrorists as an alternative of in search of consensus,” Ms. Bossis mentioned. “We should always have by no means reached this level.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *