While Athens is still on lockdown for the last 3 months, the right-wing greek government has used this time to act like a mafia organisation, settling scores with its perceived enemies, people, human rights and freedoms. In a violent legislative crescendo, the government aims to establish a junta-like police State when the pandemic lockdown eventually ends. From establishing police stations inside the greek universities to the banning of gatherings and protests above a certain number of people and the ban on the freedom of journalists to move freely and report the news, the ironically self-proclaimed “New Democracy” governing party has decided that hiring thousands of new policemen as the answer to everything, even the pandemic.
Amongst the government’s enemies and its settling of scores is political prisoner Dimitris Koufodinas, serving 11 times life sentence plus 25 years, after having been convicted as a member of the “Revolutionary Organization November 17th” (17N). 17N was active in Greece from 1975 to 2002, when it was dismantled after a failed attack. In 1989, the politician Pavlos Bakogiannis, the current Prime Minister’s brother-in-law and father of the present-day mayor of Athens, fell victim to the organization. During the trial of 17N Dimitris Koufodinas assumed political responsibility for the actions of the guerrilla group and his general stance during the court proceedings have earned him respect amongst some parts of the greek public, a fact that the current prime minister, the mayor of Athens and the American embassy cannot accept. So they constantly use their power to violate the founding idea that “justice is the same for all” or that “democracy does not seek revenge”, thus, treating him more like a hostage rather than a prisoner, constantly changing legal rules just to take their revenge.
As a result, 63 years old Dimitris Koufodinas has gone for the 5th time in his 18 years imprisonment on a hunger strike (since 8 January 2021) to be treated as a prisoner and not like a political prisoner, that according to the greek law does not exist as a prisoner’s classification. And yet political prisoners do exist and the whole legal system has changed to treat them differently, (because admitting so would be equal to admitting that your legal system is not democratic).
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the president of the current governing party, “New Democracy”, had publicly promised that if he came to power, he would exclude this particular prisoner from the right to prison leaves and the right to serve his sentence in agricultural prisons.
Indeed, in December 2020, Law 4760/2020 was enacted, containing a provision according to which, those convicted of “terrorist” crimes are excluded from custody leave and from serving their sentences in agricultural prisons. At that time (and until today), the only convict falling into this category of those who were in an agricultural prison was Koufodinas. During the legislative debate in the parliament, Dimitris Koufodinas was constantly and especially mentioned by name.
On December the 23rd, 2020, Koufodinas was suddenly transferred from the agricultural prison to Domokos prison, in a manner that resembles that of a kidnapping (without prior notice, without being able to contact his family and without having time to pack his personal belongings and saying goodbye).
It is noteworthy that this transfer to Domokos prison violated even the provisions of the aforementioned law, enacted to suit his specific case. According to this law he should have been returned to Korydallos prison, where he had been held for the previous 16 years, a prison near his family’s residence.
Dimitris Koufodinas, now 63 years old, is experiencing a dramatic deterioration in his detention conditions, with catastrophic consequences for his personality as well as his mental and physical health (the latter has been weakened because of the hunger strikes to which he had to proceed in the past).
His current demand is for Dimitris Koufodinas to be transferred to Korydallos prison, as well as, an end to these arbitrary interventions against him.
On Saturday 23 January 2021, amongst many other solidarity actions taking place all over Greece since the start of Koufontinas hunger strike, anarchist bikers -and while Greece is on a lockdown- organised a counter-info motorcade in the Athenian neighbourhoods of Vyronas, Kaisariani, Pagkrati in solidarity to the demands of political prisoner Dimitris Koufodinas, as you may see in the video above.