January 16, 1958

AGHIOS EFSTRATIOS: During yesterday’s session of Parliament, the deputies Ephraimidis, Tsigaras and Evangelou referred to the families of political prisoners held on the island of Aghios Efstratios and the need to close down the camp after Greece’s signature of the Rome Treaty on human rights. Deputy Interior Minister Nikolaos Athanassiou replied that the government was not planning to close the Aghios Efstratios camp, nor would it release the prisoners en masse. He said that when he had assumed his portfolio, there were 950 prisoners on the island, whereas now there are only 434. The government gave leave to anyone who asked for it for family reasons if they declared they would cease all involvement with the outlawed Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Each case, he said, was examined on an individual basis on humanitarian grounds and with all due leniency, but it was not considered advisable to close the camp, as had been shown by the events of the past few days, with the discovery of a KKE cell in Piraeus whose members were in contact with the Communist leadership abroad. The minister added that the prisoners have been provided with full medical care and excellent living conditions.