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#Thessaloniki, #Greece: Statement by inmates of Diavata Prison on the way the government is handling the #COVID19 #pandemic behind bars

Thessaloniki. Greece. Statement by inmates of Diavata Prison on the way the government is handling the pandemic behind bars.

Originally published by Δίκτυο Αλληλεγγύης Κρατουμένων Facebook page ( Translation submitted to Enough 14.

Diavata Prison inmates condemn the way the government is handling the pandemic behind bars.

According to the corona virus tests which have been performed, 10% of all prisoners have been found positive to the virus. Not all prisoners were subjected to testing, but a group of 150 individulas comprised by prisoners and prison guards who were chosen to be tested.

In each 20 square metre cell, over 10 people are forced to live together, although there is only space for five inmates, which does not allow us to maintain our personal hygiene. Those who have been tested positive for corona virus are housed in the same cells as everyone else. No disinfectant surface cleaners have been provided in order for us to be able to clean our cells, no detergents, soap or hand sanitizers. The prison management should have provided the aforementioned products, but the prison manager responded that there is no money to pay for these, since the Ministry of Citizen Protection has not allocated the necessary funds. No masks or gloves have been provided.

We cannot wash our clothes in order to be clean. We have no access to washing machines. We do not have the ability to give our clothes to our relatives outside who would do this for us, since the Ministry has prohibited the exchange of objects on account of the corona virus. Due to the pandemic there is nothing we can do. The entire prison has been shut down. We are only allowed hot water for one hour every day and there is no time for ten people to shower. There are no kettles in our cells in order to fulfill our need for hot water.

In Diavata prison just like in every other prison across Greece, the main axis of dealing with the pandemic behind bars seems to be the prevention of contamination through prohibition of basic services provided by the prison. At the same time, there is no enforcement of sanitary measures.

There has not been any healthcare provision in the form of medications, cough syrups, vitamines and antibiotics. We have been locked up in our cells for two weeks now. The heaters are never turned on and prisoners are constantly cold. Apart from that we are forced to leave the windows open at all times in order for the cells to be well-ventilated. This situation is unacceptable and violates the right to life for prisoners.

Sofia Nicolaou, secretary general of crime policy, visited our prison today without making any commitments to improving the conditions of detention at the time of the pandemic. Her visit served only as a show for the media.

We demand:

-Immediate prison decongestion.

-Decarceration of prisoners who are serving the final 6 months left of their sentences. Decarceration of those with minor disciplinary offences.

-Conditional release of older prisoners and vulnerable groups of prisoners who suffer from serious and chronic illnesses. -Immediate release of those remanded for misdemeanours.

-Reduction of the limit of probation to the 2/5 of the sentence along with the sentence reduction offered through employment schemes in prison or 1/3 of the sentence as it was prescribed by previous decrees regarding prison decongestion and 1/5 of the sentece along with the reduction offered through employment schemes, throughout the healthcare crisis.

-Patients with longterm sentences who cannot be decarcerated should be transfered to facitilities that enforce strict prevention measures.

-Make prison staff come to work one hour earlier in order to be subjected to a rapid covid tests at every shift in order to be able to identify and remove those tested positive from the facility.

-Suspension of sentences for prisoners who have been waiting to be tried at a second instance court and their trial has been postponed for over six months.

-No remand for those charged with misdemeanours. No remand for drug addicts.

-Provision of sanitary objects (antiseptic sprays, masks, plastic gloves) to all prisoners.

-Systematic checks and quarantine measures for every unavoidable remand.

-Systematic disinfection of every object that is brought inside the prison.

If none of the above is done and the conditions of detention are not improved, we, the prisoners at Diavata, are going to proceed to mobilizations.


Prisoners at Diavata Prison

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