Greece Opens Jail Doors For Ill

ATHENS – A law allowing prisoners suffering from illnesses – including terrorists – to be released and given house arrest was the wrong approach, Alternate Minister for Citizens’ Protection Yiannis Panousis said.

Panouis, who earlier had said that he fears his Radical Left SYRIZA administration led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has elements who want no prisons and everyone released, criticized his own government again.

In an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, he said the law means that notorious November 17 terrorist Savvas Xiros convicted of a number of assassinations including Americans, can soon go home.

Among his disabilities are those suffered when a bomb he was making blew up. He said that’s reason enough why he shouldn’t be jailed despite serving life sentences.

“There are lots of ways to do it. I would not do it this way,” Panousis said of Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos’s law, driving another breach between them. Paraskevopoulos wants more lenient treatment for prisoners.

“The court could have decided this for Xiros. There is no reason for the legislator to become involved,” said Panousis, a former Democratic Left MP.

He said that measures to ease overcrowding in Greek prisons would not solve the problems experienced by the penal system.

“With a re-offending rate of 60 percent, most will end up in jail again,” he said. “Also, you do not clear out the hardened criminals, who run things. The issue is who controls the jails. I want to hear a plan regarding the control of jails.”