Civil liberties in Greece are reserved for the elites

The Greek government’s atrocious legal and human rights record is continuously burdened with new cases of authoritarian and inhumane decisions by those in power, and the legal system which they orchestrate.

It’s only been a few days since the rapist of underaged children Dimitris Lignadis (an actor chosen by the Mitsotakis government to direct the country’s national theatre) was set free, despite being found guilty of two counts of rape. It’s only a couple of weeks since the police officer, Epaminondas Korkoneas, who shot and killed 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in 2008 – sparking social unrest which eventually contributed to the birth of the Greek Indignados movement – was allowed to walk free. No justice for the victims of those who serve the state, and the elites who rule it.

On the other hand, there are cases such as that of Yiannis Michailidis, an anarchist who has served more than 3/5 of his 20-year sentence, which according to Greek law makes him eligible for conditional parole. However, the courts stubbornly refuse to recognise his right, which has led him to a hunger strike that is now on its 67th day. A final decision on his appeal was announced earlier this morning, declining once again to recognise his right for parole, thus essentially condemning Michailidis to death.

The case has also drawn the attention of international organisations, such as Amnesty International, who have called upon the Greek state to release Michailidis. Their call falls on deaf ears, or rather deeply classist and nepotistic New Democracy ears, who bend and twist the law anyway that suits them, their cronies, and their ever-more extreme right-wing audience.

Michailidis’ case is indicative of the slippery slope Greece has been on since the election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party in 2019, and just how far down that slope Greece has slid. From the murder of refugees on the border with Turkey and the silencing of the media – which has landed the country last in the EU’s freedom of speech rankings – to the authoritarian way in which the legal system is being used to safeguard their allies and punish those who oppose them.

Mitsotakis is waging a full-blown class war in Greece. A policy that this EU-golden-boy is fully supported in pursuing by the EU establishment, which has its fair share of the blame for what this austerity-torn nation has become.


DiEM25 and MeRA25, our political party in Greece, will be joining hundreds of thousands of people in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra and across all major cities of the country to demand that the court decision is overturned and Yiannis Michailidis is allowed to live!

Do you want to be informed of DiEM25's actions? Sign up here

DiEM25 supports Occupy: End Fossil Now campaign

DiEM25 is backing the Occupy: End Fossil Now campaign which is arranging a series of youth-led protests in the coming months to put an end to ...

Read more

Tiny protest, big results

Mehran Khalili on how activists can use the media to their advantage, and why size doesn't matter when it comes to impact.

Read more

Erik Edman: Greek coast guard approached migrants in war mode

DiEM25's Political Director spent 2021 doing his military service in Greece. This is his account of Greece's involvement in illegal pushbacks

Read more

Civil liberties in Greece are reserved for the elites

The Greek government's handling of Yiannis Michailidis' case demonstrates its double standards on human rights

Read more