Migration and Struggle in Greece

Criminal investigation in the case of the Afghan refugee who supposedly committed suicide in police station

Posted by clandestina on 7 March 2009

Some days ago we wrote (in this post) about the case of a young Afghan refugee who died in the Elliniko Police detention space.  The first  information from official sources spoke of suicide.   The inhuman conditions and the gross injustice of detention  make suicides  plausible .  But the truth now emerges even more bleak:  Najib’s  brothers saw his dead body and their brother had been evidently tortured and most likely murdered. 

We translate below parts of a relevant article in the Eleftherotypia newspaper.  Thanks to the comrades of the Initiative of Refugees, Immigrants and Solidarios  for following and publishing about the issue (here, where a post in Greek and more links to newpaper articles can be found).


A Young Afghan refugee died in a Police Station; the officers had been since assuring that the death was self-inflicted … suicide by strangulation. 

This strange, to say the least, case, of a man who allegedly enveloped his neck with his shirt and strangled himself, is now being investigated by the Public Prosecutor of Athens, after members of the family of the diseeased complained that his death had occurred apparently due to him having been subjected to torture; they have sued the «unknown so far perpetrators, probably police officers, of the Security Police of Elliniko Police Station».

In their report to the prosecutor the two brothers of the deceased (the death of whom according to the official information « is that he strangled ” himself in order to commit suicide»), outline a series of reasonable questions that arise from the evidence, which they have. 

Shocking is the fact that the two men managed to identify where the body of their brother is a week after his death, only to see bruises on various parts of the body».   In their report, the two men refer to «distinct cases of torture and other infringements of human dignity»; 

According to the time-line of the unexpected death of the man who had been detained for about two weeks at the Police Station (due to issues pertaining to his residence permit document): 

– The rest of the detainees in the Police Station cells certify that «he had been very good psychologically, until he asked to go to the bathroom in the morning of February, 15th  at 10.30 am, where he never came back from. 

– The two brothers were informed by telephone that the detained Najib had died and, according to t the police, «this happened at 6.00 am, at a time when  detainees certify that he was with them in the detention cells». 

– Najib expected to be released as he had already been «unlawfully detained for two weeks, he was optimistic; what is more, it would not be easy for him to commit suicide, as he was religious and our faith prohibits suicide as a means of salvation from the suffering». He was also «optimistic by nature even under the most adverse conditions, such as war». 

-After his death «for about a week we had been trying to locate his body and when we finally learned that he was at the Morgue of Athens, we went there on the 21st of February and saw the bruises, so we tried to take pictures of his inanimate body to have evidence that he had been a victim of torture and possibly of murder. We were explicitly denied this, as we were denied access to the necrotomy report ». 

On the same day « we made in inquiry to the Prosecutors Office, who was unwilling to accept our written inquiry, dismissing it as” blotter “and saying that the necrotomys report covered him
For these reasons, the two young Afghans spoke to the lawyer Costas Koutras, President of Lawyers without Borders organization. 

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