PASOK wades into row over prolonged detention of hunger striker

PASOK's spokesman for issues of justice and citizens' protection on Friday saying that the prolonged detention of an anarchist accused of being a member of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire urban guerrilla group had created «justified concern among the country's legal circles and among human rights groups in Greece and Europe.»

Costas Triantafyllos made the statement following talks with Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou.

It followed a political dispute over the issue between New Democracy and SYRIZA earlier this week.

Costas Sakkas, 29, has been on hunger strike since June 4 to protest the fact he has been held in detention for two-and-a-half years, when the maximum the law allows for pretrial custody is 18 months. Sakkas was arrested in December 2010 but two months before his custody was due to end, he was charged for a different offense and remanded for that.

A doctor who examined Sakkas said he had lost 10 kilos and was in danger of suffering permanent damage to his health if he did not end his hunger strike very soon. Sakkas denies any role in the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.

SYRIZA said Sakkas, who has appealed for release, was the victim of an “unconstitutional” decision that amounted to “judicial arbitrariness” and a breach of his human rights. ND countered that “SYRIZA should forget the lessons in democracy and its instructions to the judiciary on how to protect terrorism suspects."