Nikos Romanos, a 21-year-old anarchist and bank robber, started a hunger strike in prison four weeks ago when his request to study at the technical college where he was admitted at the beginning of the year was denied.
With Romanos’ life hanging on a thread, Greek Education Minister Andreas Loverdos stated that he believes prisoners should be allowed to study if they are admitted into a university, given that they are allowed to take the Pan-hellenic exams while in prison.
The same rule applies to Iraklis Kostaris who has also been admitted in a technical college but has not been allowed to attend classes. However, the only one who can give a solution to this issue is Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
PASOK, Democratic Left (DIMAR) and SYRIZA are all supportive of the prisoners’ right to study in technical colleges and universities, provided that they have been admitted.
Romanos was a close friend of Alexis Grigoropoulos, who was killed by a police officer on December 6, 2008. They were together in the Exarcheia neighborhood in Athens when Grigoropoulos was murdered and became one of the case’s few eyewitnesses. Romanos claimed that Grigoropoulos death – which sparked a series of riots in the Greek capital – was an execution.
A few years later, in February 2013, Romanos was arrested for his involvement in an armed bank robbery and was given a 15-year sentence in prison. He is currently being hospitalized in Athens due to the hunger strike.