Anarchist prisoner Giannis Dimitrakis talks briefly with Athens daily newspaper 'Elefthero-tipia'. We re-post this here to spread information about the recent uprisings in the Greek prison system, caused in part by the beating of this recently imprisoned anarchist. The interview happened whilst the revolts were ongoing. For more info check out Athens Indymedia, and also the letter Giannis sent about his case in our 'Prison Struggle' section. Solidarity with Giannis Dimitrakis! Solidarity with all prisoners in struggle!(325)
Interview with Giannis Dimitrakis
Malandrino Prison is the biggest abcess of the prison system, and it needs to burst.
- 28-year old anarchist Yiannis Dimitrakis describes the contemporary inferno-like conditions at the Malandrino prison. The reports of his beating by a prison guard ignited revolts in 11 prisons across the country. In our phone conversation he described the condition of his detention at Malandrino as being the worst he had to face until now. He was originally under pre-trial detention in Korydallos (Athens), then Neapolis Lasithiou (Crete) and on the 22nd of December 2006 he was transferred to Malandrino.
- What are things like at the Malandrino prison?
Things have gone too far. All wings are now under our control, though not the administration buildings. A five-member committee met with the secretary general of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Panouris. The Riot Police are staging psychological warfare against us.
- Many people thought that the new-style prisons would somehow improve detention conditions...
New prisons like Malandrino create new tensions. There is complete isolation in the wings, 480 prisoners facing panopticism. Corridors are so narrow that you feel you are losing the sense of distance; outside yards are extremely small. There is a lack of direct communication with our families, caused by the separating glass. The prison is divided into ten wings; in reality what we are faced with is ten small isolating units. Arbitrariness rules here: the prison has turned into a private enterprise. Some entertainment units included in the original plan were quickly converted into extra cells. The building has no clean water or sewage plan. The prison was built on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere and up to this day there are serious problems in both its water and sewage systems.
- What is communication with the outside world like?
Geographical isolation amplifies the fact that nothing reaches those outside. This morning TV crews arrived, only to leave in the evening. If someone's family wants to visit they will have to travel for four hours, for a 30 minute visit. Some can only visit once every two months. Geographical distance makes the communication of prisoners with their lawyers impossible. They hold us here like soulless bodies, they just feed us until one day they simply announce that our sentence has been served.