HUNGER STRIKE: Today 11 / July on the 2nd floor in the D4 ward, the three detainees mentioned in this article continue their hunger strike. We have no confirmation as to whether others, in different wards of Petrou Ralli Police Detention center, are also on hunger strike… Solidarity with the hunger strikers! No one is illegal, no one is invisible. Immediate release for all detainees! The passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons! Detention centers cannot improve, they can only be destroyed. SOLIDARIANS for PETROU RALLI
Originally published by Athens Indymedia.
After the demonstration at Petrou Ralli demanding the release of all detainees, the cells were locked en masse. This provoked a powerful reaction from detainees, with angry outbursts on both the 2nd and the 3rd floors. Detainees pounded the iron bars of their cells, chanting ‘FREEDOM’ in different languages. The authorities were unable to put a stop to the intense demand emanating from all cells.
The following day, between 130 to 140 men began a hunger strike demanding their release or transfer to a camp.
(https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1606027/) Some succeeded and were taken to camps, though the numbers are unknown. On the 2nd floor in the D4 ward, two detainees continue their hunger strike. We have no confirmation as to whether others in different sections are also continuing.
Salman Alipore from Iran (32 years old) has been on a hunger strike for 25 days since 15/6. He has been imprisoned for 5 months and although he applied for asylum 3 months ago, has still not even been called for his first interview. He hopes to be released or transferred to a camp. His state of health is very poor and he was taken to hospital due to a drop in his blood sugar levels, then returned to Petrou Ralli prison. However, he says that he intends to continue the strike, as long as he can breathe, until he gets what he rightfully deserves: to be released and allowed to claim asylum.
Kamal Ajni from Maroco also continues his hunger strike for the 15th day. Kamal has been imprisoned for 11 months – 8 months at Amygdaleza and 3 months on the 2nd floor in the D4 ward with Salman. Kamal has applied for asylum but his claim was rejected. Like many others, neither of these men can afford a lawyer. Even though the police are obliged to provide state legal aid in such cases, they do not. Detainees are not informed on their rights and if they do make an application, it is either not forwarded or intentionally delayed on the pretext of bureaucratic procedures.
In the same ward, M.J, from Syria continues his hunger strike for the 6th day. M.J. has lived for 4 months in Amygdaleza and 2 months in Petrou Ralli.
On the 2nd floor, detainees are locked up day and night, released for just 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon for ‘yard time’ on the terrace. In order to go to the toilet or wash they have to shout out to guards to unlock their cells. The conditions are inhumane and unsanitary. Self-harm that results in blood dripping along the corridors is commonplace. Some detainees reportedly injure themselves in order to pressure the authorities into transferring them to a camp far from the hellhole of Petrou Ralli. Others do so because they are determined that they want to die – they have been undermined as human beings day after day and have lost any hope for life (https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1605693/)
Alongside the women’s section on the 3rd floor, there is another ward where sick male detainees are held, suffering from diseases such as hepatitis, severe depression, tuberculosis, HIV, and scabies. They have no visitors nor any money. Men are detained in this ward for extended periods – we have known some who were abandoned there for up to 18 months. For instance, one man M.S. has now been detained for longer than a year. He was arrested on a Friday, 3 days before he was intending to submit the necessary documents proving that he has lived in Greece for 12 years to Chania prefecture to apply for a residence permit.
It is outrageous that even though NGOs are funded to provide legal aid for asylum procedures, no lawyer has yet assisted these men. When asked to take on the cases of some detainees to secure the terms of their release, one legal NGO responded that they did not even know these men existed. They said they would discuss the issue and took the name of one of the detainees in order to visit him, noting that because they are overloaded with cases due to COVID-19 there would be delays. But since then, no intervention has been made by the organisation. In the meantime, the miserable conditions inside cells persist, including a severe problem with bedbugs as blankets are never washed or disinfected, but just passed from one detainee to the next.
Solidarity with the hunger strikers!
No one is illegal, no one is invisible
Immediate release for all detainees!
The passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons!
Detention centers cannot improve, they can only be destroyed.
SOLIDARIANS for PETROU RALLI, July 11, 2020
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