A prisoner's suicide is once again drawing attention to the cramped and overcrowded conditions at Greek prisons.
Twitter profile “ΚΟΛΑΣΤΗΡΙΟ ΚΟΡΥΔΑΛΟΥ” (Korydallos hellhole), an account for prisoners on hunger strike in the hospital wing at Korydallos prison, first reported that the 43-year-old inmate had hanged himself with his shoelaces on April 6, 2014.
Officials later confirmed the death, and the Ministry of Justice ordered an investigation.
ΝΕΚΡΟΣ■ΒΟΗΘΗΣΤΕ ΜΑΣ■ΠΑΙΔΙΑ ΣΥΓΚΡΑΤΟΥΜΕΝΟΣ ΑΥΤΟΚΤΟΝΗΣΕ ■ΚΡΕΜΑΣΤΗΚΕ ΚΑΙ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΝΕΚΡΟΣ■ΔΕΝ ΤΟΝ ΠΡΟΛΑΒΑΝ■ΒΟΗΘΕΙΑ■ΒΟΗΘΕΙΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑ #kolastirio
— ΚΟΛΑΣΤΗΡΙΟ ΚΟΡΥΔΑΛΟΥ (@kolastirio) April 6, 2014
DEAD – HELP US – GUYS INMATE COMMITTED SUICIDE – HANGED HIMSELF AND HE IS DEAD – COULDN'T CATCH HIM UP – HELP – HEEELP
The news quickly spread on social media, with users retweeting the prisoners’ digital calls for help. Inmates in the hospital wing in that particular prison have been on hunger strike since February 16, protesting what they call the appalling conditions in which they are forced to live.
Last month, the Council of Europe called for immediate improvement to the prison's hospital facilities. Special rapporteur on equal access to healthcare Liliane Maury Pasquiere told the media that “the [Korydallos] hospital, which was designed to cater for 60 persons, is said to currently be housing 200 prisoners, most of whom are allegedly HIV-positive or suffering from contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis”.
Prisoners have regularly reported on the squalor, saying that are reduced to begging for medical care. According to them, the situation is so bad that a prosecutor once refused to enter and inspect the prison wing because she “has family”.
The news of the suicide came on the heels of the announcement of an official probe into reports that an Albanian prisoner named Ilie Kareli had been tortured for two hours at Nigrita prison in northern Greece before he died in solitary confinement.
Greek Twitter users have commented under the hashtag #kolastirio (hellhole) on the country's prison system and the inaction of the government regarding its improvement:
— ZeroCool (@ZeroCoolGR) April 6, 2014
One more sick man has hanged himself not being able to stand any more of the inferno. The name “hellhole” reflects the reality.
Μην περιμένετε να παραιτηθεί κανείς από την κυβερνητική δράκα για το θάνατο “πολιτών β’ κατηγορίας”(κατ'αυτούς). #kolastirio
— Contrabbando (@Contrabbando) April 6, 2014
Don't expect anybody from the government to step down over the death of “second-class citizens” (according to them).