Greece: Nikos Romanos released from prison

Greek anarchist prisoner Nikos Romanos was released from prison last week after serving 6 years out of his 18-year sentence. He was freed following a legal battle: despite his good behavior behind bars, the court originally had not admitted any mitigating circumstances necessary for early release. However, this decision was eventually reversed by the Greek Supreme Court, which reduced his sentence to 14 years, allowing his release as the six served years counted as double due to days of labour Nikos has done while incarcerated.

Nikos Romanos was a close friend of Alexis Grigoropoulos: a Greek teenager who was murdered by two police Special Guards in Athens’ district of Exarcheia on 6th December 2008. Nikos, then 15 years old, witnessed the police murder and Alexis died in his arms. The killing triggered a widespread uprising across Greece, with solidarity actions held worldwide, including in London.

Nikos was arrested with three others in February 2013. Following his arrest, he was beaten by the police so badly that the cops decided to (very clumsily) photoshop their images prior giving them to the media. Later that year, Romanos was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for attempted robberies targeting the branches of Agricultural Bank and Hellenic Postbank in Velvento, Kozani. In 2018, he was sentenced to 18 years prison, to run concurrently with his existing sentence, following a conviction for possession of explosive devices, including one planted outside the residence of former Greek government minister Yiannos Papantoniou. Nikos narrowly escaped additional charges related to membership of the Greek urban guerrilla group Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.

While behind bars, Romanos finished high school and sat university entrance exams, securing himself a place in the Athens TEI School of Management and Economy. In 2014, Romanos started a hunger strike in response to the rejection by the government of his request for leave from jail to begin his university education. The hunger strike, which lasted for 30 days, ended after the creation of a legislative amendment allowing prisoners to take educational leave.

Another comrade arrested with Nikos in 2013, Giannis Michailidis (known as “the archer of Syntagma“), has escaped from the rural prison of Tyrintha in Peloponnese at the beginning of July. He is currently on the run. The remaining two 2013 arrestees, Dimitris Politis and Andreas-Dimitris Bourzoukos, were released in 2017.

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