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Greek MEPs welcome decision to free the "Thessaloniki 7"
27 nov 2003
Press release by two greek Members of European Parliament on the release of the Thessaloniki 7
Brussels, 27 November 2003 -- The recent decision by the Council of Magistrates' Court of Thessaloniki to release the 7 persons held in jail since the Thessaloniki Summit of June 21 last, has been welcomed by Greek MEPs Mihail Papayannakis and Emmanouil Bakopoulos, members of the European United Left /Nordic Green Left Group in the European Parliament (GUE/NGL).

The Greek authorities had been holding seven people in custody, following the demonstrations that took place during the Summit. They were charged with constructing and possessing explosives and intentionally causing an explosion. Five of the prisoners had begun a hunger strike some 50 days ago, which had put their lives at risk. However, television footage revealed that the bag in which the explosives were found appeared to be placed on the scene by riot police and then later attributed to the seven demonstrators.

Following the decision of the Council, the Greek MEPs said the following: "We welcome the decision of the court to release the detainees on bail and allow them a fair trial and the right to fair representation. However, it saddens us to see that the Greek government was willing to prolong their detention, and would only yield when faced with international pressure. It appears that the 9/11 attacks has resulted in such distorted legislation that the dignity of our citizens and the right to free representation have now been seriously compromised in the name of the fight against terrorism".

Three of the demonstrators are seriously ill in hospital following their hunger strike, and must undergo a painstaking rehabilitation.

The two MEPs added: "We must make sure that the right to voice a different opinion is upheld. These people should be considered innocent until a court proves them guilty. No one should have to spend five months in jail without the right to fair representation".

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Re: Greek MEPs welcome decision to free the
27 nov 2003
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