Prison is the mirror of a society that is walking the rope between life and death

One month after the imposition of restrictions measures due to the corona virus pandemic, we come to the conclusion that these measures have multiplied the survival problems of incarcerated people and worsened their living conditions, more than the existence and health threat of the virus itself.

Prison is the mirror of a society that is walking the rope between life and death



One month after the imposition of restrictions measures due to the corona virus pandemic, we come to the conclusion that these measures have multiplied the survival problems of incarcerated people and worsened their living conditions, more than the existence and health threat of the virus itself.

Conditions of detention inside the prisons, the migrant concentration camps, the institutions where ‘mental patients’ are ‘stored’, the Roma camps, evidently reflect the core of the political-economic system: class divisions drawn along the social body, exclusions, state violence and repression, vindictiveness, state neglect and devaluation of human life. These are aspects of the system that the biggest part of society outside the walls. is experiencing, to a lesser or greater extent.

As far as prisons go, it is known that the hundreds of deaths or suicides of prisoners, either in police stations (like the case that was recently made public of the 18 year old who killed himself in the Komotini police HQ), or in prisons, have increased, while the insufficient health care measures for prisoners deteriorated during the last social democratic government, which some expected to be a ‘better manager’ as they were considered to be ‘human rights experts’. And so the struggles regarding the penal code did not manage to thrive in the past years, leaving those who made promises about legislation reform unaccountable. On the other hand, the renowned de-congestion measure and the living conditions in prisons were never corrected, perhaps only temporarily patched over with spectacular announcements. ‘Law and order’ is anyway the dogma that is imposed by rulers on the exploited people while they themselves have free reign and are never held accountable. Consequently, the conditions inside prisons are much worse, since prisons are the reflection of a market based and competitive social organization which at its core entails the field where the ideological-political battle unfolds, punitive to a greater or lesser extent, clearly authoritarian and repressive.

The death of prisoner Azize Deniroglu on 9/4/2020 in the Eleonas-Thebes prison for women confirms this condition. The silence over this state murder was loudly breached by her fellow prisoners by their revolt in the wing E where she was held, and by the spread of the revolt by the women prisoners in the other wards. By their stance the women proved that they are not invisible, that they are not garbage. It is not merely a superfluous population, where some may be left to die. With the events in Eleonas prison, it became clear that the ‘invisible’ prisoners put an end to a government management that treated deaths in prison as ‘accidents’. They women asserted that this was yet another state murder caused by the state’s cruelty, not only of the prisons’ managers but of their political supervisors and their directives regarding the management of the incarcerated population during the pandemic. The death of Azize Deniroglu is a state murder perpetrated by the prison system, in conditions of total disregard for human life. The incarcerated women revolted enraged so as to spread the word everywhere that the death of their prison mate was caused by the state’s utter indifference. A woman who was about to be released died,a and despite the announcements for de-congestion measures, these were never implemented. The revolt uncovered the veil of hypocrisy and lies about the living conditions of the prisoners, which are terrible, they showed that all along the ladder from the prison guards to the top hierarchy, authority has the same dark face. With their revolt they send a signal of struggle to all the prisons. The claimed the just cause for de-congestion, for humane living conditions, for health measures, for the release of mother prisoners with their children, for access to health care for all, and especially those facing serious health issues like Azize Deniroglu. The prisoners reacted for human life: that same life that is humiliated under such detention conditions.

Two more deaths in prison in the last days show once again the reality of what we are describing. The death of a 38 year old prisoner who was in quarantine in Korydallos prison and was ill with symptoms of the corona virus, and who was not taken to hospital, while another prisoner is at the moment gravely ill and also not taken to hospital, yet remains in the prison quarantine. In Malandrino another death,, that of Zelim Zerolai, from tooth decay, is added to the deaths that are covered up (in recent history of the greek prisons there was another death from tooth decay, Zozo Maltezos, 2 years ago), yet they confirm by bringing to the fore the state's cruelty, their total disregard for human life when it comes to prisoners.

In the last days, mobilizations have began in several prisons (beginning from Korydallos women's prison, men prisons, Larissa, Chania, Patra and Domokos). As a response, the state, instead of implementing their renowned de-congestion measure, proceeded to: transfers of political prisoners, the members of Revolutionary Struggle Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis (adding 2 years of deprivation of work rights as a disciplinary punishment), transfers of social prisoners (Vasilis Dimakis who began a hunger strike demanding his return to Korydallos), new detentions of around 100 new prisoners per day, sudden searches in wards and cells, riot police raids and beatings to crush the revolt of the women in Thebes on 9/4 after the death of Deniroglu, again police raid in wing C of Eleonas where they destroyed everything in site and brutally beat up the women. During the night raid in C wing the riot cops brutally beat a woman with serious health problems on the head as the prison guards looked on indifferently…

The women who revolted about the death of Azize and took part in the mobilizations are being targeted with disciplinary charges, about crimes such as refusing to obey, arson. At the same time the prison managers are questioning the women about who was behind the revolt, targeting in this way specific prisoners. The women are called on different dates (27/4. 28/4. 7/5, 9/5, 13/5) to attend the disciplinary council. This in practice means lengthier sentences, and that even prisoners who were about to be released or to get exit permits, will remain incarcerated into the cells of democracy until further notice.

From our side we stand in solidarity with the just demands of the prisoners. In the midst of this new episode in the systemic crisis, we know that the state is shielding itself and is making plans to brutally impose modern day totalitarianism, aspects of which we are already living today. It is or duty, to make our own plans, looking towards the Social Revolution. Nothing is over, nothing will remain unaccounted for.





Assembly of Solidarity to Revolutionary Struggle

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