MP: Local ‘Midnight Express’ is worse

An opposition deputy charged in Parliament yesterday that the horrors of the Turkish prison system depicted in the classic film «Midnight Express» were nothing compared to those of Greek jails. New Democracy’s Yiannis Varvitsiotis charged that 28 people had been murdered in Korydallos prison in the last 12 years. Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos responded that there were three certified murders in Greek prisons in 12 years. He blamed this on overcrowding, saying that in 1990 there were 4,474 prisoners in Greek jails, with the number soaring to 8,563 today, of whom 45 percent were foreigners. In Korydallos alone, there were 795 prisoners in 1989 and 2,174 today. Petsalnikos promised that 17 new penitentiaries would be built by 2006. Varvitsiotis’s question followed the suspicious death of gangster Theodoros Grigorakos on January 27 and the murder of robber Constantin Papa on February 8. «The Midnight Express pales before what goes on in Greek prisons,» Varvitsiotis said. «Gangs control the prisons with impunity and the tolerance of the warders. The sick climate is spreading, « to other prisons, he added.

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