A Parliamentary debate over a bill introducing reforms to Greece’s prison system and the creation of “type C” maximum-security cells caused a fierce conflict between the Public Order Minister Haralambos Athanasiou and left-wing opposition party SYRIZA.
The bill was voted on Tuesday into law, with 52 votes in favor and 48 against, from the 100-member summer session of Parliament. Article 1 of the bill concerning the terms and conditions for inmates of high-security prisons was passed by 56 votes in favor and 44 against. The remaining articles were also passed by majority vote.
During the debate, Athanasiou accused SYRIZA of grandstanding after it became known that several family members of inmates accused of being members of the terrorist organization Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (SPF) were granted access to attend the Parliamentary debate.
SYRIZA MP Thodoris Dritsas responded saying that the public has every right to attend the Parliamentary procedure. He stated that the relatives of the terrorist suspects wanted to know whether their visitation rights would be affected by the new legislation.
The Greek government claims that the new prisons will help dealing with the increased escape attempts and violence incidents such as the tragedy in Malandrino, where an inmate killed a prison guard and was later tortured to death by the victim’s colleagues.