ATHENS, Greece (AP) - A convicted far-left militant captured after more than four years on the run and her imprisoned partner have started a hunger strike over Greek authorities’ treatment of their 6-year-old son.
Pola Roupa, 48, appeared in court Friday along with a 25-year-old Greek woman suspected of sheltering her, a day after they were arrested in Athens.
In a statement read to reporters by her sister on Thursday, Roupa said authorities were threatening to put her son in an institution. Roupa’s sister and mother have filed a request for temporary custody.
On Friday, Roupa filed a criminal complaint “against all responsible” for kidnapping. The Initiative for Prisoners’ Rights group accused authorities of “vengeful hostage-taking” regarding the child, and said it stood by Roupa and her partner - fellow terrorism suspect Nikos Maziotis - in their hunger strike demanding the child’s return to his mother’s family.
The Justice Ministry issued a statement saying the child had been taken into care pending a decision on custody, and that it was being cared for by specialists. The issue of steady contact with the child’s close relatives was being seen to, the ministry added.
“The priority is to ensure the best interests of the child, which will be determined by the appropriate bodies, as happens in all such cases,” it said.
Roupa and Maziotis were convicted in absentia of participating in the armed anarchist Revolutionary Struggle group, which has carried out bombings and shootings including firing a rocket at the U.S. Embassy in Athens in 2007. Because of court delays, Roupa’s pre-trial detention in 2011 exceeded the 18-month limit, and she was freed on bail conditions of regularly appearing at a police station.
But she and Maziotis vanished in 2012, along with their son. Maziotis was recaptured in 2014 after a shootout with police in central Athens. Both have admitted involvement with Revolutionary Struggle, and describe themselves as unrepentant revolutionaries.
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