Ruling rejecting Irianna release appeal sparks tension

Ruling rejecting Irianna release appeal sparks tension

Tension between anti-establishment protesters and police has been growing over the continued incarceration of a PhD student and her 33-year-old co-defendant after their conviction in June to 13 years in prison for their involvement with the urban guerrilla group Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.

On Monday, supporters of the pair threw chairs and bottles of water at a five-member parole board at the Athens Court of Appeals after it rejected a request for early release by the 29-year-old PhD student, known in the Greek media as Irianna.

The judicial officials upheld the argument of prosecutor Giorgos Gerakis, who said that her claim of “irreparable damage” on her future career prospects lacked merit as she could always continue her degree at a later date.

“I am losing everything that I spent the past years working toward,” Irianna had told the judges earlier in support of her request.

The board also turned down a similar appeal by Pericles M., a graduate of the Athens University of Agriculture who claims to be suffering from health problems.

Both Irianna and Pericles have denied their guilt, arguing that the evidence against them was circumstantial. A number of legal experts have publicly backed their lawyers’ claim that the DNA evidence on which their conviction was based is flimsy at best.

A rally in support of their claims was held on Monday evening at Syntagma Square. Scuffles with police also broke out in downtown Athens on Saturday during a pro-Irianna rally ahead of the parole board hearing.

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