Prosecutor refuses bail for detainees

A public prosecutor yesterday rejected an appeal for seven young men, detained since June 21 on charges of taking part in anti-EU rioting in Thessaloniki, to be freed on bail. Five have been on hunger strike since late September or early October. Thessaloniki prosecutor Sophia Pentaraki also proposed that 27 of the 29 people arrested during the rioting be sent to trial. The indictment is expected to be announced in the next few days. Supporters of the seven prisoners held a protest outside the Justice Ministry. Protests have also been held in Britain, Spain and even Australia. Students at the National Technical University of Athens took over the dean’s office at the Zografou campus. Some 200 self-proclaimed anarchists have been squatting in the Athens University dean’s office in a neoclassical building in central Athens since Thursday. Dean Giorgos Babiniotis said that according to his information, the building has not been damaged inside but slogans have been painted on its facade. But invaluable archives and items are at the squatters’ mercy. Police are not allowed onto the campus unless called on by university authorities. It emerged yesterday that some 130 youths who raided Thessaloniki University’s mathematics and science faculty on Saturday caused extensive damage. Electronic archives covering 30 years of research into the earth’s ozone layer, the atmosphere and meteorology were removed. The protesters painted slogans on walls and caused extensive damage, which included setting fire to three cars. They tried to occupy the building again on Sunday but were repelled by faculty members and students. The lawyer for Spaniard Carlos Martin Martinez, one of three hunger strikers being treated in Nikaia State Hospital, filed suit against anyone responsible for the prisoner’s mistreatment. Former Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos told Athens’s Skai Radio: «Pre-trial detention is a very harsh measure, which might be acceptable when the crime is heavy, such as murder. Therefore the extension of the custody period is not acceptable.» Government spokesman Christos Protopapas said five months was not so long, as the limit is 18 months.