The Greek government said it won't intervene to grant a prison-transfer demand by convicted terrorist Dimitris Koufodinas, who has been on a hunger strike for more than seven weeks.
The 63-year-old is serving 11 life sentences for murder, armed robbery and use of firearms and explosives as a leading member of the militant group November 17, whose members remained at large for decades until a botched bomb attack in 2002.
Koufodinas who started a hunger strike in January, is demanding to be moved from a prison in central Greece back to a high-security facility in Athens where he was previously serving his sentence.
“Mr. Koufodinas is demanding privileged treatment outside legal norms,” government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni told reporters in an online briefing.
“The state does not negotiate with convicts and will not relinquish its sovereign right to how to detain them. (He) has the ability to end the hunger strike and exercise the legal options at his disposal.”
Supporters of Koufodinas have in recent weeks staged several protests and vandalism raids on ministers' homes and offices.
On Monday evening, hundreds of protesters demonstrated in the Greek capital in support of the jailed far-left hitman.
Meanwhile, the son of one of the victims of November 17, issued a fresh call for Koufondinas to stop a hunger strike that threatens to end his life.
“We asked Mr Koufodinas in our announcement to cease his hunger strike and pursue any claims he feels he might have over purported violations of his rights through the judicial channels,” said Giorgos Momferatos, the son of publisher Nikos Momferatos, who was killed by Koufodinas on February 21, 1985.
“We ask the same of his supporters, who do not seem to want him to stop. They appear to have something else in mind,” Momferatos told Mega TV.
“We regret that terrorism has become a subject of political confrontation once more, because this is what it’s all about,” Momferatos said, adding that he believes the current controversy over the legal merit of Koufodinas’ transfer request is merely a “pretext.”