Christiana Stilianidou
Education in prisons – The Dimakis case, 2022
25 • 03 • 2022

Mr. Dimakis, a prisoner in Korydallos prison, committed himself again to a hunger and thirst strike, claiming that his right to access to education was being restricted due to delays in the submission of his application for leave for educational purposes. Following the strike, his application was submitted promptly and permission granted for educational leave, whereupon he stopped the strike.

On 14-3-2022, Mr Dimakis, a prisoner in Korydallos prison, went on a hunger and thirst strike for the third time, protesting the restriction of his right to education (see more on the strike in 2018 here, and in 2020 here). Dimakis has only 2 classes left to pass in order to complete his degree, but whilst classes at his university began on 28  February, the three member board responsible for granting permits for educational leave were, he says, refusing to accept his application for a leave permit. He claims that they were creating artificial obstacles, making it difficult for prisoners  to study.

On this occasion, Dimakis violated the terms of his leave and did not return to prison after his class. However, this does not affect the overall right of prisoners to education and can not “justify” the fact that this man was driven on three different occasions to go on a hunger and thirst strike in order to exercise his right to education (see this statement from Dimakis bout his disappearance, and the 20-3-2022 article from the Initiative for the Rights of Prisoners). After all, the observance of the conditions of the permit concerns the prisoner individually, while the respect for prisoners’ rights by the state is an obligation, as well as an important component of adherence to the rule of law.

Where is the problem with the rule of law?

The imposition of a penal sentence serves specific purposes, which includes rehabilitation and reintegration into society. 

Whilst the individual is deprived of their right to liberty, the state still has an obligation to ensure the effective exercise and protection of their other rights, such as the right to education.

In a state governed by the rule of law, therefore, state authorities must respect and ensure the rights of prisoners, without prisoners having to fight for the rights they are entitled to.

In this case, the prisoner V. Dimakis went on a hunger and thirst strike for the third time, endangering his life, in order to secure his right to education.

Christiana Stilianidou
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