Justice Minister submits amendment aimed at breaking Romanos deadlock

As Nikos Romanos started a thirst strike Wednesday, Greek Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou submitted an amendment in Parliament aimed at breaking the deadlock over the 21-year-old jailed anarchist and robber.

Romanos has been on hunger strike since November 10 over authorities' refusal to grand him an educational leave to attend classes at a Greek technical college (TEI).

According to the amendment, prisoners will be allowed to attend on-campus classes while wearing a monitoring bracelet, but only after they have successfully completed a third of their first semester via distance learning.

The minister said the changes to the law aimed at bringing together the various positions put forward during a parliamentary debate on the issue on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Romanos's lawyer Fragiskos Ragousis said that the 21-year-old had stopped receiving liquids in protest at the ongoing deadlock. He said Romanos's health was in extremely poor condition putting his life under threat.

Meanwhile, leftist opposition leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday discussed the issue with President Karolos Papoulias and deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos. He said that SYRIZA would back the amendment.

A Supreme Court prosecutor on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Romanos against an earlier court decision to deny his appeal for study furlough from prison.

Romanos and five others were given jail sentences of 15 to 16 years in October for their part in an armed robbery in Velvento, northern Greece, in February 2013. All were cleared of being part of the urban guerrilla group Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire.

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