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Greeks Authorise Force feeding of Hunger Strikers

Paster | 26.11.2003 14:57 | Thessaloniki EU

Greek Authorities breach human right and EU law (again) by Authorisation of force feeding

Greece agrees forced feeding of UK hunger striker
Wed 26 November, 2003 13:20

By Karolos Grohmann

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek authorities have authorised forced feeding of five imprisoned anti-globalisation protesters who have been on hunger strike in Greece for up to two months, the fiancee of one of the protesters says.

The five -- two Spaniards, a Syrian, a Briton and a Greek -- are refusing to eat as a protest against their imprisonment since being arrested during riots at a European Union summit in Greece in June. They are awaiting trial on charges of possession of explosives and weapons.

"Prosecutors have issued an order today which I have seen for their forced feeding," said Nerea Franco, fiancee of Carlos Martinez, one of the two Spaniards, on Wednesday.

"This action is against all human right conventions," Franco said. "It is illegal under European Union law."

An authoritative Greek legal source confirmed to Reuters an order had been issued and force feeding would be carried out "if doctors determine the health of the five is in danger".

Charis Ladis, lawyers for the two Spaniards Martinez and Fernando Perez, had said on Tuesday doctors had advised him if the hunger strike went on for another week the five could die.

Syrian Suleiman Dakduk has been on hunger strike the longest, 63 days. Briton Simon Chapman, the Spaniards and the only Greek defendant, Spyros Tsitsas, started their fast in early October.

Supporters of Chapman claim his bag was switched during his arrest for another containing firebombs and hammers to implicate him.

The prisoners' lawyers have filed a request with court authorities for their immediate release until the trial, a date for which has not yet been set.

The group was transferred to Athens two weeks ago after prison officials in northern Greece, where they had been held since their arrest, said their condition was critical.

Seven people have been jailed since June, and 29 rioters have been charged with a variety of offences during anti-globalisation rallies which turned violent during the EU Summit in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

The detentions have sparked protests by anarchists and leftists across Greece and a series of minor bombing attacks in the capital in the past weeks.

A group of students last week took over the dean's office at Athens University to protest at the imprisonment while the capital has played host to almost daily marches in support of the so-called "Thessaloniki Seven".