Asylum law comes under scrutiny

Almost half of Greeks believe that the university asylum law, which prevents police from entering college grounds without the permission of academic authorities, should be scrapped. In a poll published just hours after Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas asked his subordinates to investigate which public buildings are under occupation, 49 percent of people questioned in a Public Issue survey for Sunday’s Kathimerini said that the asylum law should not exist, compared to 44 percent who are in favor of the legislation. In a circular to all first instance prosecutors, Sanidas asked the judicial officials to ascertain whether any public buildings in their area of jurisdiction are being occupied, who the occupiers are and how long they have been there. Sanidas also wants them to ask the officials responsible for the buildings why they have not taken any steps to remove the squatters. The chief prosecutor also wants his subordinates to find out whether the premises of these buildings are being used to make weapons, such as petrol bombs, or to deal drugs. «It is obvious that you will have to inform those managing any buildings under occupation that they are also liable for prosecution under the law,» Sanidas told the prosecutors in his letter. The Public Issue poll indicates that public opinion has now shifted in favor of action been taken to restore order at some universities, where the asylum law is being abused. Only 24 percent of respondents believe that the police should not enter university grounds if there are protests or the buildings are occupied. In June 2006, this figure stood at 39 percent. Now, 42 percent believe that police should obtain permission and enter the college grounds. Another 24 percent think that officers should not wait for permission.

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