Another jail drugs death

Yet another inmate in the top-security Athens Korydallos Prison has died in his cell after taking drugs, the Justice Ministry confirmed yesterday, while sources told Kathimerini that the government has hushed up at least another two similar deaths over the past 10 days. Kyriakos Asvestas, 23, who was serving time for drugs offenses, was found dead in his cell on Wednesday. His two cellmates, who are also believed to have taken drugs, were taken to the prison hospital in poor shape. They were out of danger yesterday. The Justice Ministry issued a statement to say that Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras has ordered a preliminary disciplinary investigation into the incident and the potential responsibility of prison guards. Papaligouras also summoned Korydallos’s governor, resident prosecutor and the head of the prison hospital to brief him on the incident. Despite repeated pledges by successive governments to eliminate drugs from Greece’s overcrowded prisons – usually made after a particularly embarrassing incident – the problem persists. Ministry sources told Kathimerini yesterday that two more Korydallos prisoners have died after taking drugs in recent days. The one was only identified by his surname, Heimonettos, while a second, Spyros Kafes, 41, was rushed in a coma to the Tzanneio Hospital in Piraeus, where he expired. Neither of the deaths was made public by the ministry, which also – according to the same sources – sought to keep Asvestas’s death secret. Two days ago, the sources said, a young man held in Korydallos was found in a comatose state in his cell after taking a suspected drugs and alcohol cocktail, but eventually recovered, while in recent days four convicts required treatment in the prison hospital after taking heroin. Last December, a remand prisoner in the Korydallos women’s section, 40-year-old Katerina Baila, died after drugs use. And almost exactly two years earlier, three women died in their cells and another two became seriously ill following a New Year’s Eve heroin and alcohol binge at Korydallos. Last year, the former governor of the Korydallos women’s section and four warders received suspended jail sentences over that incident.

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