Annual Report: Greece 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Greece 2010

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Problems such as overcrowding and poor hygiene, as well as lack of adequate food, outside exercise, access to the outside world and to health services, continued to be reported in immigration detention centres. In June, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture concluded that "the detention conditions of the vast majority of irregular migrants deprived of their liberty in Greece remain unacceptable".

In some facilities, unaccompanied minors were detained for as long as two and half months due to a shortage of places in minors' reception centres.

  • In August, approximately 150 unaccompanied minors went on hunger strike in the Pagani immigration detention centre in Lesvos, protesting against their detention conditions. The centre was temporarily closed in November.
  • In July, a large number of irregular migrants and asylum-seekers, including unaccompanied minors, were forcibly evicted from a campsite in Patras. Between 80 and 100 people were reportedly left homeless, without access to water, sanitation or medical assistance. During the same month, approximately 100 irregular migrants were also forcibly evicted from a disused courthouse in Athens.

Racially motivated attacks against migrants and asylum-seekers increased.

In December, a draft law which provides for the granting of citizenship to second generation migrants was announced.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Protesters, lawyers and journalists were reportedly illtreated by police following a demonstration in January.

  • The special guard responsible for the shooting of Alexis Gregoropoulos in December 2008 was charged with manslaughter with intent. The second guard was charged with complicity. Their trial was pending at the end of the year.

Incidents of excessive use of force by police during demonstrations were reported during the year. There were reports of a large number of arbitrary transfers of protesters to police stations, ill-treatment by police against some peaceful demonstrators and of police motorbikes injuring some demonstrators during the protests in December.

Reports continued throughout the year of illtreatment by law enforcement officials, especially against members of vulnerable groups such as asylum-seekers, migrants and Roma.

  • On 3 April, Arivan Osman Aziz, a Kurdish Iraqi migrant, was reportedly severely beaten by a coastguard officer in the port of Igoumenitsa. He died as a result of his injuries four months later. An investigation had not been concluded by the end of the year.
  • In May, a police officer allegedly destroyed the Koran of a Syrian migrant during an identity check. The sworn administrative inquiry into the incident had not been concluded by the end of the year. The Muslim migrant community staged several demonstrations to protest about the incident.
  • In October, Mohamed Kamran Atif, a Pakistani migrant, died 14 days after he was reportedly subjected to torture during his arrest and detention in a police station in Piraeus. A criminal investigation was opened.
  • In October, several asylum-seekers and migrants were reportedly beaten by police guards. The incident followed their request to be let out of a smoke-filled dormitory after a protest about detention conditions and length of detention in Pagani immigration detention centre in Lesvos. Among them was a 17- year-old Palestinian who reportedly was severely beaten. An investigation was opened and some witnesses reported being intimidated.
  • The trial of a police officer charged with torturing two detainees with electric shocks in August 2002 commenced in December.

In December, the government presented a Draft Presidential Decree establishing a Bureau to deal with incidents of arbitrary behaviour by law enforcement officials. Concerns existed over the institutional independence and limited mandate of the proposed body.