Minister, parties support hunger striker’s right to study from prison

Education Minister Andreas Loverdos has declared himself in favor of prisoners being allowed to study as anarchist and convicted bank robber Nikos Romanos enters a fourth week of hunger strike in protest at being prevented from being granted leave to study at a technical college.

“The Education Ministry permits studying in prisons,” said Loverdos, who said that the final decision must be taken by Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias based on security criteria.

SYRIZA, PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR) also expressed their support for Romanos and other prisoners to be allowed to study. Romanos passed his senior high school exams in the summer and gained a place at Athens Technical College.

The 21-year-old was moved to an Athens hospital on Friday due to the deterioration in his health. He suffered fainting spells and reported problems with his eyesight.

Romanos and five others were given jail sentences of 15 to 16 years in October for his part in an armed robbery in Velvento, northern Greece, in February 2013. All were cleared of being part of the urban guerrilla group Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.

Romanos was a close friend of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, the 15-year-old shot dead by a policeman on December 6, 2008. He was with Grigoropoulos when he was murdered, an event that sparked days of rioting in Athens.