Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Greece
Posted by clandestina on 16 October 2014
Read the report: 2014-26-inf-eng
Strasbourg, 16.10.2014 – The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its eleventh visit to Greece. The visit took place two years after the CPT had issued a public statement in which it had expressed serious concerns regarding the lack of effective action to tackle systemic deficiencies concerning the conditions of detention of irregular migrants and the situation in the prisons. Regrettably, the findings of the 2013 visit demonstrate clearly that the situation has not improved. Further, the problem of ill-treatment by the police appears to be growing and there is little evidence that allegations of ill-treatment are investigated promptly and thoroughly, leading to some police officers believing they can act with impunity.
The report describes the totally unacceptable conditions in which irregular migrants are held in police establishments all over the country for prolonged periods. For example, in one station, two or more women were held for months in a dark, mouldy and dilapidated basement cell of a mere 5m² with no access to outdoor exercise or hygiene products.
The CPT is particularly critical of the treatment of unaccompanied minors. The reports states that the Amygadelza facility in Athens for unaccompanied minors was run like a police detention facility offering neither appropriate material conditions nor a supporting environment. It recommends that it no longer be used for the detention of minors. More generally, the report states that the interests of unaccompanied minors should be better protected.
The report states that a great number of detailed coherent and consistent allegations of physical ill-treatment of persons by police officers were received. The allegations concerned mainly kicks, slaps, punches and blows with batons and other objects upon or after apprehension. Several cases are cited in the report. Further, the CPT notes the flaws in the current system of investigations into allegations of ill-treatment notably as regards the lack of promptness and thoroughness in carrying out investigations. It recommends that the mandate of the Office on Arbitrary Incidents be reviewed in order to ensure its independence and to strengthen its investigative and oversight capabilities. Recommendations are also made regarding the recruitment and training of police officers and on improving the application of safeguards against ill-treatment such as access to a lawyer, access to a doctor and improving the conduct of interrogations.
The visit report and the response have been made public at the request of the Greek authorities and are available on the CPT’s website: www.cpt.coe.int.