Kostas Sakkas’s health is deteriorating rapidly. As of today, he is 32 days into a hunger strike, protesting his unlawful pre-trial detention by the Greek authorities, which now extends to 31 months. On June 17th, Sakkas was moved from prison to a general hospital, where doctors monitor his condition closely. Meanwhile, New Democracy, the leading party in Greece’s government coalition, responded to mounting criticism by attacking the main opposition party, SYRIZA, and saying that the opposition should “stop defending everyone accused of anarchy and terrorism”.
According to a medical report by Olga Kosmopoulou, MD at Nikaia General State Hospital, Kostas Sakkas’s life is in imminent danger. She points out that the hunger striker has already lost a lot of body mass, and his heart or other vital organs could fail at any moment.
Nevertheless, Public Prosecutor Ioannis Moraitakis proposed today that the detainee’s petition for release be rejected. The Judicial Council is scheduled to discuss the matter within the next few days.
Sakkas went on hunger strike on June 4th, the day on which the extension of his pre-trial detention was supposed to have ended.
Greek law allows for a person accused of a crime to be detained before trial for a period of up to 18 months. In exceptional cases, and provided certain legal conditions are met, this period may be extended to 30 months. In 1996, a law was passed (2408/1996), which provides that a single case against any person may not be broken up into several partial sets of charges, resulting in successive pre-trial detention terms, which would exceed the legal 18 month limit. This law was a result of several convictions Greece suffered in the European Court of Human Rights.