Lawyer: Hunger strikers ‘at risk’

The lawyer for British citizen Simon Chapman, one of seven people held in detention since the June 21 anti-EU riots in Thessaloniki, yesterday said he was hoping for an imminent response to his most recent appeal for Chapman’s release, noting that his client was in a critical condition after 50 days on hunger strike. The arrest of the seven has prompted firebombings, demonstrations and the occupation of the dean’s office at Athens University. The appeal for Chapman’s release from Korydallos Prison, lodged 10 days ago, was made for humanitarian reasons and on the basis of new television footage, Giorgos Ververis told Kathimerini English Edition last night. «Footage from Mega and Alpha television stations show (Chapman’s) arrest from a new angle and support his original claims that his blue backpack was taken by police officers and replaced by a black one containing seven Molotov cocktails, an axe and a hammer,» Ververis said, adding that it was these «planted» weapons which led to Chapman being charged with illegal possession of explosives and weapons. «We were hoping for a response (to the appeal) this weekend but have heard nothing yet,» Ververis said. «The most worrying thing is that while we wait his health continues to deteriorate. He has lost 25 kilos since October 5 and doctors say he is now at the second stage of starvation and that his vital organs are at risk of permanent damage.» Chapman is among five of the «Thessaloniki Seven» on hunger strike. He and Syrian national Suleiman Dakduk are in the prison hospital. «The three others (Greek Spyros Tsitsas, and Spaniards Carlos Martinez and Fernando Perez – transferred to Nikaia hospital) are in an even worse state,» Ververis said.