Prison uprising in Chania, Crete, over dehumanising living conditions

Uprising breaks up in Chania Prison, Crete, due to inhumane living conditions. Inmates pledge to fight state terrorism.

Submitted by taxikipali on March 21, 2009

On Saturday 21/3 the prisoners of the Chania Prison, in the Greek island of Crete led an uprising against their captors decrying the conditions in the jail, occupying the prison yard and setting up barricades. The inmates are demanding the immediate decrowding of the cells. The uprising comes after the persistent failure of the Ministry of Justice to fulfill its promise to release several thousand prisoners from the Greek jails, given as a response to the universal hunger strike in Greek prisons last autumn. The uprising in the Chania Prison is the first in the country after the general prison uprising in spring 2007 (in response to the brutal beating of the anarchist prisoner Yannis Dimitrakis).

Chania houses 157 prisoners in cells with a capacity to only 70 and 108 beds, resulting in ten inmates per cell, with one toilet for every 57 inmates. The State persecutors asked the prisoners to end the uprising and return to their cells, pledging to come back to them after a week with proposals. The inmates refused the offer, and have established an insurgent assembly where decisions are taken by consensus. The direction of Chania Prison is infamous for its brutality, and only last week 20 immigrants were locked in isolation naked.

The insurgent prisoners first communique reads:

We, the inmates of the judicial prisons of Chania, today 21 of March 2009, reacting to the miserable conditions of living have refused to return to our cells, demanding the immediate decrowding of the prison. We believe that the solution is the immediate transference of a large number of inmates to other prisons of the country. What nobody tolerates to lack even for a single moment is HUMANE CONDITIONS OF LIVING AND DIGNITY! How could we not revolt when we are piled 157 people in a prison (ex ottoman fort) where there is place only for 70, and 57 of us are forced to share a section for 20, sharing a single toilet, having to arrange dates for using it; when we have to unite beds so that three sleep in two, when we lack warm water and when we are cold, when we cry and nobody hears us, when the State is hiding form society the unspeakable truth! For yet another time the State is the moral culprit of an uprising that is deemed inevitable! The threats voiced regarding the repression of the uprising and for the penalisation of those of us who take part in it, as rebels-villains-criminals do not scare us. The State will always be our enemy. State terrorism will not pass! We have voted by consensus and have agreed: We shall continue our struggle until we speak to a Ministry of Justice representative and our demands are met

Inmates of Chania Prison