Thessaloniki 5 in Korydallos

Five men who have been in custody since the anti-EU riots in Thessaloniki on June 21 were moved from the northern city to the hospital of Greece’s top security Korydallos Prison in Athens yesterday. Authorities decided on the transfer due to the deteriorating condition of the five who have been on a hunger strike for over a month and recently began refusing liquids. Two others are being held in a juvenile prison in Avlona and are not on a hunger strike. The transfer of the five, by road, is likely to prompt more protests in Athens and abroad as the anniversary of the Nov. 17 1973 student rebellion approaches. It is usually a time when anarchists and anti-globalization activists provoke unrest. Protesters were to picket the Greek Embassy in London yesterday. A Greek anarchist group calling themselves «Black and Red» sent a proclamation to newspapers describing the seven as «political prisoners» and demanding their immediate release. A support campaign claims the five on hunger strike have been «imprisoned on false charges after weapons were planted on them by the Greek police at demonstrations around the EU summit.» The five are Carlos Martin Martinez and Fernando Perez Gorraiz of Spain, Briton Simon Chapman, Syrian Suleiman Dakduk and Greek Spyros Tsitsas. They deny charges of rioting and possession of fire bombs, and demand to be released on bail. Dakduk, who fears being deported to Syria, began his hunger strike on Sept. 21, followed by the Spaniards and Chapman on Oct. 5 and Tsitsas on Oct. 8. They began to refuse liquids on Friday when they were admitted to a Thessaloniki hospital, where, their support group says, they were denied their rights. They demanded privacy when using the toilet, access to their lawyers and phone calls, the campaign said.