Mass hunger strike in jails

More than 9,000 prisoners across Greece, about half the country’s prison population, have gone on hunger strike over the past week to protest detention conditions, a prisoner support group said yesterday. Another 1,000 inmates have been refusing meals since Monday to commemorate the death of Alexis Grigoropoulos, whose shooting by a police officer in 2008 sparked days of violent protests. The prisoners – including 500 inmates at Grevena jail, northwestern Greece, and 157 inmates at Malandrino Prison in central Greece – are protesting overcrowding and demanding better health services, according to the Prisoners’ Rights Initiative. The group has asked to meet with Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis, who has heralded radical jail reforms. Greece’s prison population is 12,600, about 115 prisoners per 100,000 people, which is just below the European Union average. But Greek jails accommodate double the inmates they were designed to.

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