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Nikos Romanos ends hunger strike after 31 days

Nikos Romanos ends hunger strike

Nikos Romanos breaks his 31 day fast after an amendment is passed in parliament that will allow him to study, fitted with an electronic bracelet.

Pavlos Zafiropoulos

Nikos Romanos has ended his hunger strike following the passage in parliament of an amendment that will allow him to leave prison fitted with an electronic bracelet provided he completes the first six months two months of his course behind bars.

Prior to the measure being adopted, the President of the Republic spoke on Wednesday morning with the Prime Minister via telephone after speaking with the opposition leader Alexis Tsipras.

The amendment submitted by the Justice Ministry was accepted by all opposition parties in parliament with the first being SYRIZA when Zoe Konstantopoulou announced that the party was withdrawing its demand for a roll call vote on the amendment.

After the measure was passed, Nikos Romanos reportedly broke his 31 day fast by eating a cracker.

“It is not a time for celebrations. Democracy and legality won… The most important thing is that a life was saved,” Romanos’s attorney, Frangiskos Ragkousis stated.

According to the final amendment that was supported by all parties in parliament, students who are imprisoned following convictions or who are remanded in custody on charges including belonging to terrorist groups (as are pending against Romanos who is accused of participating in the domestic anti-establishment group ‘Conspiracy of Fire’) can be granted educational leave and fitted with electronic bracelets provided they have completed the first third of their studies by distance learning.

During a debate in parliament last night, Athanasiou initially rejected proposals submitted by SYRIZA and DIMAR that would allow Romanos and other inmates to leave prison to attend university provided they were fitted with electronic bracelets to monitor their movements. This despite the fact that the proposal was supported by every other party in parliament aside from the neo-fascist Golden Dawn.

Only after the junior coalition partner PASOK intervened and resubmitted a similar proposal did Athanasiou back down and state that the Justice Minister would examine the proposed amendment.

Charalambos Athansiou explained that the new measure was “a composite of all the proposals,” which were submitted on Tuesday night by the opposition parties in parliament.

In reality it appears that the Minister managed to do the right thing, but only after having exhausted all other options.

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