According to IMC Athens, Katerina Goulioni, militant prisoners’ rights activist, has died in police custody this morning, Wednesday March 18th. Katerina was one of the most active prisoners in defence of prisoners’ rights and was often put in isolation.
Katerina was being transferred from the women’s prison at Thiva, where she was active in exposing bad conditions and organising against mistreatment and rape of prisoners, to a prison on the island of Crete. Evidently she was on the same boat to Crete as the fascist prisoner “Periandros.” Periandros had previously attacked the anarchist prisoner Yiannis Dimitrakis;Yiannis is in the hospital but is doing well. Afterwards, Periandros was attacked by other prisoners in his own cell, possibly in retaliation, as Yiannis has much support on the inside.
In the boat from Pireaus to Crete, the guards forced Katerina to sit alone, fifteen seats behind the other prisoners, hands tied behind her back. At 6a.m. in the morning Katerina was found dead; according to testimonies by other prisoners, she was badly beaten in the face.
The coroner refuses to give out any information before the official report, though police already claimed Goulioni died of a heart attack. Prisoners at Thiva, approximately 100km northwest of Athens, quickly began a hunger strike.
Update: On Sunday the 22nd it was reported that the women had set one wing of the prison on fire. Meanwhile prisoners in the Hania prison on Crete also revolted and occupied the prison, and 200 people in Korydallos prison staged a solidarity protest. Simultaneously, a radio station close to Hania was occupied so solidarity messages from and for the prisoners could be broadcast:
We the prisoners of the juridical prison of Hania, today on the 2lst of March 2009 and in reaction to the horrific living conditions, refused to enter our cells in order to demand the immediate de-congestion of the prison. As a solution to this problem, we seek the immediate transfer of the majority of us to other prisons in the country. We ask, in other words, what should be a given. What no one should be denied even for a single moment: humane living conditions. Dignity!
How could we not act, when 157 of us are piled up in a prison, a former Turkish command post, built to house 70, when 57 of us are forced to live in a room designed for 20, when to use a toilet we must book an appointment the day before, when we join up two beds so that three of us can sleep on them, when we have no hot water and shiver, when we shout and nobody listens, when the State hides away from society an untold truth!
Yet again the State becomes an accessory to murder when facing the fact of an unavoidable revolt!
The threats issued against the revolt and the judicial condemnations directed against all of us who participate in it, as insurgents, criminals, do not scare us. The State will always meet with our opposition! Its terrorism shall not pass!
We voted unanimously and with enthusiasm that:
We will continue our struggle until we get a hearing with a representative of the Ministry of Justice, in order for our demands to be met.
- Prisoners of the Juridical Prison of Hania