Inmates go on hunger strike

Some 4,000 inmates in jails around the country went on hunger strike yesterday to demand better detention conditions, with some sewing their mouths shut to drive their point home. In addition to the inmates on hunger strike, another 4,000 continued to boycott their prisons’ mess halls for a second week. Protesters, whose cause has been backed by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and other left-wing parties, object to overcrowding and the drug dealing that goes on in many jails. A group representing the protesters yesterday condemned the state for the drug-related death of an inmate in a jail on Chios. «People who are addicted to drugs do not belong in prison but in rehabilitation centers,» the group said. Last week Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis heralded a series of reforms aimed at improving conditions for inmates and offering additional support for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, who comprise a large proportion of inmates in Greek jails.