A Bill of Rights For Jailed Greek Anarchists

If he’s still with us, admitted anarchist and accused bank robber Nikos Romanos, who spit his disgust at a government he wants to bring down when he was arrested, has used a hunger strike in a bid to get occasional leave to go to college.

You read it right. An anarchist whose goal is to destroy society’s institutions, although apparently not the Athens Technical College he wants to attend, has demanded the right to leave prison, undoubtedly with the promise to return once class is over, unless he spots a hot co-ed or a bank he wants to knock off on the way back. Maybe he could bring pizza for the other inmates who weren’t let out for the day.

This is the guy who, for some reason – along with five other rocket scientists who were given 15-16 year jail sentences for armed robbery – was cleared of being part of the terrorist group Conspiracy of Cells of Fire which has its own agenda to destroy Greece.

He denied being part of the terrorists while expressing sympathy for their cause, which is to destroy buildings and kill people, which sounds like terrorism, especially when you consider that he admitted to planting a bomb outside the home of former defense minister Yiannos Papantoniou in December 2012. Is that terrorism?

Papantoniou is a convicted criminal too, found guilty of failing to report a bundle of cash in a secret bank account but all he and his wife, who was implicated, got for that was a four-year sentence they bought off at 10 euros a day when the Wesley Snipes Rule should have been in effect and he should have been put in the can next to Romanos.

When he was arrested earlier in the year after a foiled bank robbery, Romanos said he would not cooperate with the justice system and repeated his call for others to take up arms, which sounds like terrorism unless you think insurrection is otherwise, which means you’re eligible to be an anarchist. They’re not very organized but they have Molotov Cocktails at their conventions, just before they blow up the hotel on the way out.

Romanos refused to testify before magistrates, which is his right, but he did everything in admitting his crimes except to stand on top of the Grande Bretagne hotel in Syntamqa Square with a loudspeaker and confess.

“As anarchists we consider the option of robbing a bank a conscious choice of resistance,” Romanos said in a joint statement with his partners in crime, adding that the attack on the capitalist establishment was part of their overall revolutionary activities.

That’s the problem with anarchists: they want to topple governments and all they stand for, except for colleges, schools, hospitals, libraries, roads, airports and the banks they use while targeting others. Romanos though is a textbook anarchist.

In a letter posted on the Internet after his arrest, he said that his “stance opposite the magistrates was, is and will remain the same. I refuse to start a dialogue with the judicial Mafia, to explain myself to my executioners,” although he sure was willing to talk now if it will get him out of jail free to go to college.

Why bother? Greek jails are full of anarchists and terrorists who already know so much about bomb making they could teach it in college so let Romanos take his lessons in the hoosegow instead of being allowed to walk around Athens picking out more targets. That’s what prison libraries and volunteer teachers are for.

He’s only 21, and if he survives his hunger strike, he should be allowed leave, say sometime around the year 2030 or so when he may have mellowed enough not to use a gun for his next heist.

But Education Minister Andreas “Softy” Loverdos, from the PASOK Anti-Socialists who are coalition partners in the shaky government headed by Prime Minister and New Democracy Capitalist chief Antonis Samaras, wants to play nice and let Romanos take leave, although he said it was really the decision of Public Order Minister Vassilis Kikilias from New Democracy.

Also refusing to get involved, Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said there were laws allowing convicts to acquire study leave but that it was the decision of the parole board.

These guys are just positioning themselves to be excused from blame if Romanos gets leave and vanishes, just as did Christodoulos Xiros from the notorious November 17 terrorist group who walked away from a Christmas vacation he got last year.

He was let out although serving six life sentences for his role in six assassinations, including the killing of five Americans attached to the U.S. Embassy over the years, an embarrassment so huge you’d think the government wouldn’t consider furloughs for the likes of Romanos.

So here’s a Zen question: how can any anarchist or terrorist demand rights from a government he really doesn’t want to exist? Let’s make it easy and establish a Bill of Rights for them.

You have the right to stay in jail until your sentence is up. You have the right to use the toilet in the cell but no TV or Internet. You have the right to one shower and bar of soap a week. You have the right to eat prison slop. Unless, of course, you don’t want to.