CPT/Inf (2009) 20

[PDF Format]

 

 

 

 

Report to the Government of Greece

on the visit to Greece

carried out by the European Committee

for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman

or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

 

from 23 to 29 September 2008

 

 

 

The Government of Greece has requested the publication of this report and of its response. The Government's response is set out in document CPT/Inf (2009) 21.

 

  

Strasbourg, 30 June 2009

 

 


  

CONTENTS

Copy of the letter transmitting the CPT’s report 3

I.       INTRODUCTION.. 4

1.       Dates of the visit and composition of the delegation. 4

2.       Context of the visit 4

3.       Establishments visited. 5

4.       Cooperation received and consultations held by the delegation. 7

5.       Immediate observations under Article 8, paragraph 5, of the Convention. 7

II.      FACTS FOUND DURING THE VISIT AND ACTION PROPOSED.. 8

1.       Preliminary remarks. 8

2.       Ill-treatment 8

3.       Fundamental safeguards against ill-treatment 12

4.       Conditions of detention in police and border guard stations. 13

5.       Conditions of detention in special facilities for irregular migrants
and police holding facilities. 17

a.       introduction. 17

b.      material conditions. 18

c.       regime issues. 20

d.      food. 21

e.       medical care. 22

6.       Conclusions. 23

APPENDIX:
LIST OF THE CPT'S RECOMMENDATIONS, COMMENTS
AND REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION
.. 25

 

 



Copy of the letter transmitting the CPT’s report

 

                                                                                      Mr Athanassios Dendoulis

                                                                                     Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

                                                                                     Permanent Representative of Greece

                                                                                     to the Council of Europe

                                                                                     21 place Broglie

                                                                                     67 000 Strasbourg

 

Strasbourg, 1 December 2008

 

 Dear Ambassador

 

            In pursuance of Article 10, paragraph 1, of the European Convention for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, I enclose herewith the report to the Government of Greece drawn up by the European Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CPT) following its visit to Greece from 23 to 29 September 2008. The report was adopted by the CPT at its 67th meeting, held from 3 to 7 November 2008.

 

            The various recommendations, comments and requests for information formulated by the CPT are listed in the Appendix. As regards more particularly the CPT’s recommendations, having regard to Article 10 of the Convention, the Committee requests the Greek authorities to provide within three months a response giving a full account of action taken to implement them. The CPT trusts that it will also be possible for the Greek authorities to provide, in the above-mentioned response, reactions to the comments formulated in this report, which are summarised in the Appendix, as well as replies to the requests for information made.

 

            The CPT would ask, in the event of the responses being forwarded in the Greek language, that they be accompanied by an English or French translation. It would also be most helpful if the Greek authorities could provide a copy of the response in a computer-readable form.

 

            I am at your entire disposal if you have any questions concerning either the CPT’s report or the future procedure.

 

Yours faithfully

 

  

Mauro Palma

President of the European Committee for the

prevention of torture and inhuman

or degrading treatment or punishment

  



I.          INTRODUCTION

 

 

1.         Dates of the visit and composition of the delegation 

 

 

1.         In pursuance of Article 7 of the European Convention for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention"), a delegation of the CPT carried out a visit to Greece from 23 to 29 September 2008. The visit was one which appeared to the Committee “to be required in the circumstances” (cf. Article 7, paragraph 1, of the Convention).

 

 

2.         The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

 

-                  Mario FELICE (Head of delegation)

 

-                  Dan DERMENGIU

 

-                  Pétur HAUKSSON (2nd Vice-President of the CPT)

 

-                  George TUGUSHI.

 

            They were supported by Kristian BARTHOLIN and Marco LEIDEKKER of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by:

 

-                  Eleonora GAMBAS (interpreter)

 

-                  Maria LOUCA-HOUVARDA (interpreter)

 

-                  Ionathan MARKEL (interpreter)

 

-                  Alexander ZAPHIRIOU (interpreter).

 

 

2.         Context of the visit

 

 

3.         In its report on the August/ September 2005 visit, the CPT drew attention to the apparent absence of effective action when allegations of ill-treatment were brought to the attention of the authorities, and it expressed serious concerns over the persistent failure by the Greek authorities to tackle structural deficiencies in the establishments holding irregular migrants.

 

            In February 2007, the CPT revisited Greece in order to examine the measures taken by the Greek authorities to address the Committee’s concerns. The CPT found that persons deprived of their liberty by law enforcement officials in Greece continued to run a real risk of being ill-treated. Moreover, in its talks with senior officials, the Committee pointed out that until the Greek authorities recognise the reality of the risk of ill-treatment to persons apprehended by law enforcement officials, it will not be possible to combat this phenomenon in Greece effectively. In addition, the poor conditions of detention in which many irregular migrants were being held, as well as the lack of coordination amongst the relevant Ministries to address this issue, remained of serious concern to the Committee.

 

            The response of the Greek authorities to the report on the February 2007 visit demonstrated a desire to cooperate with the Committee. However, at the same time a number of fundamental issues were not addressed in a satisfactory manner. Notably, the CPT continued to be concerned by the failure of the Greek authorities to implement many of the CPT’s recommendations in relation to the treatment and conditions of detention of irregular migrants. It also remained unconvinced that sufficient measures were being taken to stamp out ill-treatment by law-enforcement officials of persons deprived of their liberty.

 

            In its reports on both the 2005 and 2007 visits, the CPT indicated that it may have no choice but to set in motion the procedure provided for in Article 10, paragraph 2, of the Convention[1] if concrete action was not taken to improve the situation in the light of the Committee’s recommendations. The September 2008 visit by the CPT sought not only to examine the treatment of persons, particularly irregular migrants, detained by law enforcement agencies, but also to pursue its dialogue with the Greek authorities.

 

 

3.         Establishments visited

 

 

4.         The delegation visited the following places of detention:

 

Establishments under the Ministry of Interior:

 

Attica Prefecture:

 

-           Akropolis Police Station

-           Exarhia Police Station

-           Kypseli Police Station

-           Omonia Square Police Station

-           Petrou Ralli Holding Facility for irregular migrants

-           Aspropyrgos Holding Facility for irregular migrants

-           Amygdaleza Special Facility for irregular migrants

 


Alexandroupoli Prefecture:

 

-           Alexandroupoli Police Station

-           Feres Border Guard Station

-           Soufli Border Guard Station

-           Tichero Border Guard Station

 

Drama Prefecture:

 

-           Drama Police Station

 

Orestiada Prefecture:

 

-           Isaakio Border Guard Station

-           Metaxades Border Guard Station

-           Neo Himoni Border Guard Station

-           Filakio Special Facility for irregular migrants

 

Rhodopi Prefecture:

 

-           Iasmos Border Guard Station

 

Lesbos Prefecture:

 

-           Mytilini Police Station

-           Mytilini Special Facility for irregular migrants

 

Thessaloniki Prefecture:

 

-           Aristotelous Police Station

-           Kordello Border Guard Station

-           Monasteriou Security Police detention facility

-           Thermi Border Guard Station

-           Aliens Division Detention facility

 

Xanthi Prefecture:

 

-           Xanthi Police and Border Guard Station.

 

Establishments under the Ministry of Justice

 

            The delegation visited the Judicial Prisons of Komotini and Thessaloniki for the purpose of interviewing inmates who had recently been in the custody of law enforcement agencies.

 

 

 

4.         Cooperation received and consultations held by the delegation

 

 

5.         In the course of the visit, the CPT's delegation held consultations with the Minister of Interior, Prokopis PAVLOUPOULOS, the Deputy Minister of Interior responsible for Public Order, Panagiotis CHINOFOTIS, and the Secretary General of the Minister of Justice, Konstantine GLETSOS, as well as with the Chief Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation, Giorgos SANIDAS, and the Commander in Chief of the Hellenic Police Force, Lieutenant-General Vassilios TSIATOURAS. The delegation also met representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Greek Helsinki Monitor.

 

 

6.         The degree of co-operation received during the visit from the Greek authorities was very good. The delegation was granted immediate access to the detention facilities it wished to visit and to the persons it wanted to interview. Information required to carry out its task was promptly provided.

 

            The CPT wishes to express its appreciation of the assistance provided to its delegation by Lieutenant Colonel Evangelos KARIOFILLAKIS of the Ministry of Interior and Mrs Eftichia KATSIGARAKI of the Ministry of Justice. However, the CPT reiterates that the quality of the ongoing dialogue between the Greek authorities and the Committee could be further improved by the designation of a distinct government department to be permanently responsible for maintaining contact with the CPT before, during and after a visit. A solution for the persistent problems of coordination amongst the different Ministries involved in the preparation of the Greek response to the CPT’s recommendations, and the implementation of those recommendations, should also be found.

 

 

5.         Immediate observations under Article 8, paragraph 5, of the Convention

 

 

7.         At the meeting with the Greek authorities, which took place at the end of the visit on 29 September 2008, the CPT's delegation made two immediate observations under Article 8, paragraph 5, of the Convention. The Greek authorities were requested to provide the CPT, by 31 October 2008, with:

 

Ř   a full report on the investigation into the alleged ill-treatment of a foreign national at Omonia Square Police Station, as well as the results of the examination into the lack of medical care provided to this person[2];

 

Ř   a full report on the dermatological examination carried out on an irregular migrant at Kordello Border Guard Station.

 

The information requested was received in time and has been taken into account in the report.



  

II.        FACTS FOUND DURING THE VISIT AND ACTION PROPOSED

 

 

1.         Preliminary remarks

 

 

8.         The legal framework governing detention in the various establishments under the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior has remained unaltered since the CPT’s previous visit to Greece in 2007: for irregular migrants, the legal basis for detention is to be found in the 2005 Aliens Act and for criminal suspects in the Code of Criminal Procedure[3]. For both irregular migrants and criminal suspects, the applicable legal safeguards are formulated in Protocol No 4803/22/44 on the “Treatment and rights of persons detained by the police authorities”.

 

 

9.         The CPT was informed that on 1 January 2009, the border guards will become an integral part of the Hellenic Police Force. At present, the border guards are a paramilitary force tasked, in particular, with the apprehension and detention of irregular migrants and traffickers in human beings, operating under the responsibility of officers of the Hellenic Police. Currently, border guards have received not more than two months training and cannot be promoted into the police force without first passing though the regular police schooling. The CPT would like to be informed about the practical implications of the planned integration of members of the border guards into the police force and, in particular, whether border guards will be considered as fully-fledged police officers. Further, the Committee would like to know whether additional training will be provided to border guards.

 

 

2.         Ill-treatment

 

 

10.       In the course of the visit, the CPT’s delegation received a considerable number of allegations of ill-treatment of persons held by law enforcement officials under suspicion of having committed a criminal offence.

 

            The alleged ill-treatment consisted mostly of kicks, punches and blows with batons, often inflicted during questioning. Certain allegations also referred to the use of excessive force at the time of arrest. In addition, a few persons claimed that they had been threatened with various objects; for instance, at the Thessaloniki Monasteriou Police Station a man alleged that during a search of his house a police officer had threatened him by holding a hot electric iron close to his head. Another person claimed that, at the Omonia Square Police Station, he had been forced to undress and was then ridiculed by police officers.

 

11.       By contrast, the CPT’s delegation received few allegations of ill-treatment of irregular migrants by law enforcement officials. The allegations that were received consisted mainly of slaps, kicks and verbal insults; these allegations often appeared to relate to situations where the migrant had not understood a staff instruction due to language barriers. Also, various interlocutors told the delegation of an incident at Feres Border Guard Station some two months before the visit, during which border guards and police officers entered one of the cells wielding their truncheons, after detainees had continued to complain about their situation. Allegations of similar retaliatory measures were received in relation to other detention facilities.

 

 

12.       In a number of cases, the delegation’s doctors found that the persons concerned displayed injuries which were consistent with their allegations of ill-treatment; for example, the CPT would like to refer to the following case:

 

            On 23 September at around 21h00, the CPT’s delegation met a foreign national detained in Omonia Square Police Station, who complained of severe pain in the head and in one of his fingers[4]. The man alleged that the pain in both the head and the finger resulted from having been beaten by police officers during questioning at the police station earlier that day.

 

            The medical examinations carried out later that night showed that the man had very recently suffered a fracture of the right zygomatic arch[5], as well as a fractured finger; these findings were consistent with his allegations.

 

            In a letter sent by e-mail on 31 October 2008, the Greek authorities informed the CPT that they had opened a disciplinary as well as a criminal investigation in respect of the ill-treatment alleged by this man. The CPT would like to be informed about the outcome of both investigations.

 

13.       The information gathered during the 2008 visit indicates that apprehended persons continue to run a considerable risk of being ill-treated by law enforcement officials. The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities make strenuous efforts to combat this phenomenon.

 

            In this respect, the CPT welcomes the instruction of 4 June 2008[6], by the Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, which directs prosecutors to record and investigate allegations of ill-treatment by personnel of state bodies, including ordering a medical examination. It is particularly important that the instruction obliges prosecution staff to initiate an investigation whenever they suspect that ill-treatment has taken place.

 

            However, the CPT wishes to emphasise that the investigation must be instigated immediately after the allegations have been received by the prosecutor and be conducted in a thorough and expeditious manner. There are examples of investigations concerning allegations of ill-treatment reported by the CPT to the Greek authorities as far back as 2005, which are still pending[7].

 

14.       In this context, the CPT wishes to refer to an allegation of ill-treatment by prison staff of an inmate at Korydallos Prison. This case was brought to the attention of the authorities by the CPT’s delegation in the course of its 2007 visit to Greece[8]. In a report by the deputy Prosecutor at the Piraeus District Prosecution Department[9], it is stated that in order to prevent the inmate from swallowing two small packages of drugs, the prison officer “made certain moves to extract those packages from inside the mouth”. The public prosecutor was satisfied that the injuries[10] that were subsequently sustained by the inmate were caused by a prison officer carrying out his duty; the officer could therefore not be punished.

 

            From the information at the disposal of the CPT, the Committee can only conclude that the investigation into this case was flawed. First of all, despite the prosecutor responsible for Korydallos Prison being informed in person on 24 February 2007, three days after the alleged ill-treatment took place, it would appear from the report that the investigation relies on statements obtained more than eight months later. Further, from the report it also emerges that, as in other cases examined by the Committee, no proper forensic medical examination of this inmate was carried out, assessing the injuries sustained in the light of the allegations of ill-treatment. In the absence of such an examination it remains, for instance, unexplained how “certain moves to extract those packages from inside the mouth” may have caused bruises on the right mid-lower back and behind both ears of the inmate[11].

 

            The CPT trusts that the recent instruction of the Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation will be rigorously applied and that allegations of ill-treatment will be investigated promptly, thoroughly and effectively.

 

 

15.       The credibility of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment is undermined each time officials responsible for such acts are not held to account. From the information available to the Committee, it would appear that much more needs to be done in this regard. As was the case during previous visits, the CPT’s delegation again received claims that allegations of ill-treatment, even when lodged with an investigative judge, were not being systematically followed up, including with an immediate forensic medical examination. For instance, in Thessaloniki, the CPT’s delegation met a young man who said that he had informed the investigative judge that he had been ill-treated, but that his allegation had been summarily dismissed. The detained man’s lawyer, who was present during the interview with the judge, confirmed his account.

 

            The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to ensure that, whenever criminal suspects brought before a judge allege ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, the judge records the allegations in writing, orders immediately a forensic medical examination and takes the necessary steps to ensure that the allegations are properly investigated. Such an approach should be followed whether or not the person concerned bears visible external injuries. Further, even in the absence of an express allegation of ill-treatment, the judge should request a forensic medical examination whenever there are other grounds to believe that a person brought before him could have been the victim of ill-treatment.

 

 

16.       In view of all the information available to the Greek authorities indicative of the persistence of the problem of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, it is disappointing that measures with a proven effectiveness, advocated by the CPT in its reports, have not been implemented. For instance, to date, a fully-fledged, independent authority for the inspection of detention facilities of law enforcement agencies[12] does not exist. In 2007, the CPT was informed about plans to reform the Ombudsman Office so that it could undertake the tasks of such an authority[13], but apparently these plans have not materialised. The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to establish a system of frequent visits to law enforcement establishments by an independent authority.

 

 

17.       The Greek authorities are in the process of introducing new legislation concerning the investigation and punishment of disciplinary offences by members of the Hellenic Police Force. This draft law lays down the procedures to be followed by the bodies competent to hear complaints against police officers, as well as the sanctions to be incurred for various types of disciplinary offences. However, this new legislation omits introducing an independent complaints mechanism. Complaints by the public entailing allegations of disciplinary offences continue to be submitted to officers of the Hellenic Police, and the superior officer of the alleged perpetrator may still carry out investigations into certain offences[14]. The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to establish an independent police complaints mechanism.

 

 

18.       In addition, the Greek authorities should seriously consider the establishment of a specialised custodial service for persons detained by law enforcement agencies. In order to be fully effective, custodial officers should have both the authority and the responsibility to verify whether basic rights of detained persons, such as notification of deprivation of liberty, access to a lawyer, etc., have been respected, and to take appropriate action if this is not the case. The CPT would like to receive the views of the Greek authorities on this proposal.

 

 

3.         Fundamental safeguards against ill-treatment

 

 

19.       The CPT reiterates that it attaches particular importance to the safeguards against ill-treatment which are offered to persons deprived of their liberty by the police, in particular the rights of detained persons to inform a close relative or another third party of their situation, to have access to a lawyer, and to have access to a doctor. As the Committee has repeatedly stressed, these are fundamental rights, which should be enjoyed by all categories of persons from the very outset of their deprivation of their liberty (that is, from the moment when the persons concerned are obliged to remain with the police).

 

 

20.       Once again, the findings of the CPT indicate that in Greece these rights are not always respected in practice; no noticeable developments have occurred since the previous CPT visit to Greece. Many detainees complained that they were not allowed to contact their lawyer as from the outset of detention and similar complaints were received with respect to the right to inform a close relative or another third party of their situation. Further, many detained persons met by the delegation complained that they were not informed about their rights in a language they could understand.

 

            The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to take immediate steps to ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty by law enforcement officials have an effective right to notify a close relative or third party of their choice of their situation, and to have access to a lawyer, and are informed about these rights in an appropriate language, as from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty.

 

 

21.       In all the facilities for the detention of irregular migrants visited by the CPT’s delegation, mobile phones, including those on which relevant telephone numbers were stored, were systematically taken away by the authorities. Consequently, contacting a lawyer or a close relative had been made practically impossible. The CPT wishes to recall that the persons concerned were neither convicted nor suspected of a criminal offence. Bearing this in mind, the CPT invites the authorities to reconsider their policy of systematically confiscating the mobile phones of detained irregular migrants.

 

 

22.       With respect to custodial records, as was the case during the 2007 visit, the persons mentioned in the detention registers in the Border Guard stations in the Alexandroupoli and Orestiada prefectures did not correspond with the persons actually held in the detention facilities of these stations. The CPT reiterates its recommendation that the Greek authorities take immediate steps to ensure that individualised custody records are kept at the location where the persons concerned are detained.

 

 

23.       As regards access to a doctor, the CPT found that this right was still not fully effective in practice, even if it is guaranteed by law. Given that persons are currently being kept for prolonged periods in police and border guard stations, the CPT has advocated in the past that the Greek authorities establish a system whereby doctors visit police (and border guard) stations regularly to screen new arrivals and to enquire whether there are detainees with potential medical problems. However, despite the continuing prevalence of contagious skin diseases in many of the stations visited, no action has been taken to date to put in place such a system.

 

            The findings of the 2008 visit also highlight that the existing process of sending detained persons in need of medical care to a hospital is not sufficient. For instance, one person met by the delegation in Omonia Square Police Station had been in obvious pain for some hours[15]. The responsible police officers had acknowledged in writing this situation and had even recommended that the person be taken to hospital. However, it was only after the CPT’s delegation insisted on his immediate transfer to a hospital for further examination and treatment that the necessary steps were taken.

 

            The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to review the existing arrangements concerning access to a doctor and the provision of health care for persons held by law enforcement agencies, in the light of the above remarks.

 

 

4.         Conditions of detention in police and border guard stations

 

 

24.       The CPT has repeatedly made recommendations aimed at improving the conditions of detention in police and border guard stations, in particular as regards occupancy rates, material conditions, levels of hygiene, outdoor exercise and access to medical care. These recommendations were most recently affirmed in the Committee’s report on its 2007 visit[16]. Despite the stated intentions of the Greek authorities to refurbish many of the establishments visited in 2007, the CPT’s delegation did not observe any significant improvements in the conditions of detention in the establishments visited in 2008.

 

 

25.       The CPT’s delegation carried out visits to four police stations in Athens, seven in the Alexandroupoli, Drama, Orestiada, Rhodopi, Thessaloniki and Xanthi prefectures and one in Mytilini, on the island of Lesbos. In addition, the delegation visited seven border guard stations in the Alexandroupoli and Orestiada prefectures. On the whole, the conditions of detention in police and border guard stations remain grim, with excessive overcrowding being the norm. In sum, the problems posed by overcrowding exacerbated the already poor material conditions and contributed significantly to the hygienic problems observed in these establishments.

 

 

26.       Concerning the issue of overcrowding, the CPT’s delegation noted that the detainee population was somewhat unevenly distributed among the border guard establishments in the Alexandroupoli and Orestiada prefectures. For instance in Feres Border Guard Station, gross overcrowding was observed (95 detained persons in two cells of 49 square metres each), whereas in the Isaakio Police Station (about 50 kilometres away) all the cells had been empty for a week. The Committee believes that improved coordination between the various police and border guard stations could contribute to reducing the problem of overcrowding.

 

 

27.       The detention areas of most establishments visited had little or no access to natural light and were sometimes only dimly lit (notably in the Akropolis and Kypseli Police Stations in Athens and the Alexandroupoli Police Station). In many establishments, effective ventilation was lacking. Cells and common areas were with a few exceptions, such as Iasmos Border Guard Station, generally dirty, in many cases even filthy.

 

            One of the worst examples in this regard was the Xanthi Police and Border Guard Station, where all cells were extremely dark, filthy, smelly and dilapidated. The CPT considers that the material conditions in this establishment are unacceptable.

 

 

28.       In contrast, the Thermi Border Guard Station had good detention conditions, apart from the absence of a yard for outdoor exercise. In this station, the eight detained migrant women shared two large cells. The detention area, including the toilets and showers, was clean, well lit and adequately ventilated.

 

 

29.       As regards sleeping arrangements, each detained person was supposed in principle to be provided with a mattress and a blanket. However in some places (e.g. Feres Border Guard Station and Xanthi Police and Border Guard Station) detained persons had to share mattresses, while others had to sleep on cardboard or blankets placed directly on the floor. Further, when mattresses had been provided, the CPT’s delegation observed that they were sometimes in a very bad state, and the vast majority of detained persons complained about the mattresses and blankets being old, dirty and often infested with lice and fleas. In numerous cases, the delegation could itself observe that detained persons had marks from recent lice or fleabites on their bodies. For instance, at least four out of ten detained minors in the Metaxades Border Guard Station displayed recent bites.

 

 

30.       The CPT is particularly concerned about the practice of mixing male and female detained persons in the same cells in the Alexandroupoli prefecture, due to the absence of specific facilities for female detainees. For instance, in Soufli Border Guard Station, the CPT’s delegation came across three women who had to share accommodation with 27 men, and at Feres Border Guard Station, four Chinese women shared a cell with over 40 men. It appeared that most of the women - but not all - had family relations with certain of the men in their cells.

 

            Some of the women involved indicated to members of the delegation that they felt ill at ease in a cell with men, but had considered that asking for a transfer to another cell would put them at risk of being exposed to men with none of whom they have family relationship.

 

            The absence of specific facilities for female detainees creates a particularly hazardous situation for detained women in terms of safety, privacy and hygiene; immediate measures should be taken by the Greek authorities to address this problem.

 

 

31.       Hardly any of the establishments visited by the delegation were equipped with an outdoor exercise area, not even the recently constructed Monasteriou Security Police Detention Facility (in operation since 2004). Further, in those establishments which did possess such an area (Feres Border Guard Station and Kypseli Police Station), outdoor exercise was in practice offered only rarely, if at all.

 

 

32.       Sanitary installations were in most cases found to be filthy and often in a dilapidated state (e.g. at Exarhia Police Station in Athens and Tichero Border Guard Station in the Orestiada prefecture). In many establishments, only some of the toilets and showers in the detention area were functioning at the time of the visit.

  

            As regards hygienic items, practice differed from establishment to establishment. In some police and border guard stations, small quantities of soap and washing powder would be issued to detained persons, in others only soap. Similarly, toilet paper was not issued on a systematic basis. Other hygienic items, such as shampoo, toothbrush and –paste as well as shaving utensils generally had to be acquired by the detained persons themselves.

 

 

33.       Further, the CPT’s delegation observed once again that in the majority of police and border guard establishments visited, there were no call bells in the detention area.

 

 

34.       The deficiencies observed by the CPT’s delegation partly stem from the fact that the detention areas of police and border guard establishments were clearly designed with short-term detention in mind. The reality observed by the CPT’s delegation is that many detained persons, in particular irregular migrants, would remain locked up under such conditions for months on end. The situation observed could in some cases, such as in Xanthi Police and Border Guard Station, amount to inhuman or degrading treatment.

 

35.       The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to:

 

-        take the necessary measures to reduce overcrowding in police and border guard stations, inter alia, by a better distribution of detained persons between establishments;

-        provide specific facilities for female detainees. Female detainees should never be accommodated in a cell together with male detainees with whom they have no family relationship;

-        clean, and where necessary refurbish, detention areas, in particular sanitary installations (showers and toilets). Preferably, access to sufficient natural light should be provided in all detention areas;

-        provide for effective ventilation of all detention areas;

-        provide access to outdoor exercise on a daily basis for all detained persons staying beyond 24 hours;

-        install call bells in all detention areas;

-        ensure that each detained person is provided with a clean mattress and a clean blanket;

-        systematically and regularly provide all detained persons staying for longer than 24 hours with a basic toilet kit, including adequate rations of soap, washing powder, toilet paper, shampoo, tooth paste, tooth brush and shaving utensils free of charge.

 

As regards the Xanthi Police and Border Guard Station, the Committee recommends that this establishment be taken out of service until such time as the detention area is renovated.

 

 

36.       More generally, the CPT reiterates that detention facilities in police and border guard stations are only suitable for short-term detention. The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to make a concerted effort to move away from the practice of detaining persons for prolonged periods in such establishments.

 

 

5.         Conditions of detention in special facilities for irregular migrants and police holding facilities

 

 

a.         introduction

 

 

37.       In the course of the 2008 visit to Greece, the CPT’s delegation undertook follow-up visits to police holding facilities in the Attica prefecture (the holding facilities of the Attica Aliens division at Petrou Ralli Street and in Aspropyrgos) and to Special Facilities for Irregular Migrants in Amygdaleza and Mytilini. It also visited for the first time the Special Facility for Irregular Migrants in Filakio[17] and the Holding Facility of the Thessaloniki Aliens Police.

 

            The Special Facilities for Irregular Migrants in Peplos and in Vrissika were closed at the time of the visit. However, from information received from the Greek authorities the CPT understands that these facilities may be reopened in the future. In the past, the CPT has stated that both facilities offered unacceptable detention conditions[18]. At a minimum, the Peplos and Vrissika centres should be fully reconstructed and extensively refurbished before being reopened[19].

 

 

38.       In principle, within a few days after apprehension, irregular migrants are transferred from a police or border guard station to a police holding facility or, in some prefectures, to a special facility for irregular migrants under the joint responsibility of the Hellenic Police Force, the region and the prefecture[20]. However, because of the soaring influx of irregular migrants into Greece, the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities are often operating at full capacity, resulting in many irregular migrants being either detained in police or border guard stations for weeks and even months or released rapidly.

 

            The Greek authorities intend to enhance the number of special facilities for irregular migrants by opening new detention centres in Lesbos and in the Patras area. In addition, at the time of the CPT’s visit, a new special facility for irregular migrants was in the process of being opened in Sparta. Despite these plans, the authorities should always be prepared for the arrival of irregular migrants in numbers that surpass the average. In order to avoid situations such as encountered by the CPT in Mytilini[21], contingency plans should be drawn up well in advance. The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities put in place a contingency plan to enable them to cope with such a massive influx of irregular migrants.

 

 

b.         material conditions

 

 

39.       At the time of the 2008 visit, refurbishment work was underway in the Petrou Ralli and Aspropyrgos Police Holding Facilities. For this reason, the Aspropyrgus facility operated at less than half its capacity and at Petrou Ralli a considerable number of showers and toilets were not accessible. On the day of the visit, the Aspropyrgus facility held 54 male irregular migrants for a total capacity of 140 men, and in Petrou Ralli there were 185 male and 74 female detainees, for a total capacity of 208 males and 150 females.

 

            The CPT’s delegation noted that many of the remarks made in the report on the Committee’s 2007 visit remain valid. In both facilities, detained migrants continued to have difficulties accessing a toilet, in particular at night, and resort to plastic bottles was common. The renovation work under way will not change this state of affairs, as in-cell toilets are not planned in either facility. By consequence, detained migrants remain dependent on staff in order to be able to go to the toilet; in this respect it was not helpful that call bells had still not been installed in either facility. Further, as was the case in 2007, the mattresses and blankets handed out to detained migrants were generally filthy. Also, access to outdoor exercise remained problematic in both facilities: at Petrou Ralli the spacious roof-top yard could still not be accessed daily by the detainees, and in Aspropyrgus no outdoor exercise yard had been constructed, despite the open spaces surrounding the facility. In addition, in Aspropyrgus the window panes in some of the cells were broken, rendering the cells cold, particularly at night.

 

            In sum, the living conditions in both facilities remained poor.

 

            The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities ensure that the following improvements are made in the Petrou Ralli and Aspropyrgus Police Holding Facilities:

 

-                  access to toilets to be guaranteed, including at night;

 

-                  call bells to be installed in all cells;

 

-                  arrangements to be put in place to provide every newly-arrived detainee with a clean blanket and clean mattress.

 

            Further, the Committee recommends the construction of an outdoor exercise yard at the Aspropyrgus Holding Facility and the provision of daily outdoor exercise at the Petrou Ralli Holding Facility.

 

 

40.       The infrastructure of the Mytilini Special Facility for Irregular Migrants had not changed since the previous CPT visit in 2007. The facility consisted of five large warehouses for male detainees and two warehouses for juveniles and women, respectively; another warehouse was in use as storage. Of the four prefabricated stand-alone units, which in 2007 had been presented to the CPT’s delegation as designated accommodation for women and children, one was being used by staff and the remaining units accommodated detainees with infectious diseases.

 

            At the time of the 2008 visit, there were 720 detained migrants in the facility for a capacity of approximately 300. By consequence, the detention conditions were abominable, with, for instance, more than 100 persons sharing two toilets and detainees having to share mattresses or sleep directly on the floor.

 

            Clearly, under such conditions, any attempt to maintain basic hygienic standards and, more generally, to offer acceptable social and medical care, is bound to fail. In fact, leaking toilet and shower facilities, poor ventilation, general squalor and an absence of daily outdoor exercise turn the conditions in the Mytilini Special Facility for Irregular Migrants into a health hazard for staff and detainees alike, and call for immediate emergency measures. The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take immediate steps to provide appropriate living conditions in the Mytilini Special Facility for Irregular Migrants, in the light of the above remarks.

 

 

41.       The Holding Facility of the Thessaloniki Aliens Police is located on the first floor of a building on the outskirts of Thessaloniki. On the day of the visit, there were 108 male detainees accommodated in nine rooms, each measuring approximately 60 m˛. All cells were equipped with toilet facilities and efforts were made by the detainees to keep their living quarters clean, using detergents provided by the authorities. There was sufficient access to natural light, via large windows, and the artificial lighting was sufficient. However, there were no beds in the rooms; the detainees slept on dirty mattresses and blankets placed directly on the floor. Further, there was no yard for outdoor exercise.

 

            The Special Facility for Irregular Migrants in Filakio opened in the spring of 2007. On the day of the visit, the facility held 343 irregular migrants, including 26 women and three young children. The detainees were accommodated in seven dormitories, including one secluded dormitory for women and young children.

 

            The dormitories had access to natural light and adequate artificial lighting, and were properly ventilated. All detainees were provided with a bed and blankets. However, due to the rooms being cramped with bunk beds[22], there was a severe lack of living space. The confined atmosphere was exacerbated by the limited possibility for the detainees to enjoy outdoor exercise; despite the existence of suitable yards, they were offered access to fresh air for a mere 15 to 20 minutes every day.

 

            In contrast to many other facilities visited by the delegation, there appeared to be an effective cooperation between the police, region and prefecture in the Filakio facility. Consequently, the facility was properly maintained, there were no problems with the provision of hygienic items such as detergents, toilet paper and toothpaste, and mattresses and bedding were reasonably clean and in plentiful supply. The Filakio facility is proof that when the region, prefecture and Hellenic Police Force cooperate effectively, it is possible that a large detention facility can remain well-maintained and reasonably clean.

 

 

42.       The Amygdaleza Facility for Juveniles offered mainly appropriate conditions. The four large dormitories were equipped with plinths and had sufficient access to light, both natural and artificial. In addition, there was an outside yard as well as a large activity room equipped with computers and a television set. However, as the dormitories did not have in-cell toilet facilities, the juveniles might have to resort to using plastic bottles at night.

 

            At the time of the visit, the facility held 42 juveniles for an overall capacity of 40.

 

 

43.       In the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities visited, the detainees experienced difficulties keeping themselves clean, due to the insufficient quantities of detergents and products for personal hygiene. In view of the already precarious medical condition of many of the persons concerned, the Greek authorities should consider (personal) hygiene as a priority area.

 

 

44.       With respect to all the centres visited, the CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to ensure that:

 

-        occupancy rates are revised so as to offer a minimum of 4m˛ of space per detainee;

 

-     all detainees are offered a bed or plinth, blanket and mattress, all clean;

 

-        all detainees have unimpeded access to toilet facilities, including at night;

 

-     all detainees are allowed to spend a large proportion of the day outside their cells and to have at least one hour of outdoor exercise a day;

 

-     sufficient quantities of detergent and products for personal hygiene are made available at all times to detainees.

 

 

c.         regime issues

 

 

45.       The CPT’s delegation observed that detained irregular migrants continue to be provided with the same regime as criminal suspects; the drafting of minimum operating standards for special facilities for irregular migrants, as required by Article 81 of the Aliens Law, is still ongoing. By consequence, almost three years after the Aliens Law entered into force, there is no regulation in place that sets criteria for the regime to be offered to detained irregular migrants. The CPT’s findings once again indicate that there is an urgent necessity to adopt such standards, guaranteeing a diversified regime, with activities and recreation, including the possibility of one hour of daily outdoor exercise. In addition, norms with respect to the provision of appropriate medical and social care should be included in the operating standards, as well as issues related to the maintenance of order and discipline. At present, no guidance is given to law enforcement officials assigned to the facilities on the measures to be taken in the event of a disturbance or breakdown in order; staff are left to improvise. Similar operating standards should be introduced for the police holding facilities.

 

            The CPT recommends that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to draw up and implement, as soon as possible, operating standards for both the special facilities for irregular migrants and police holding facilities.

 

46.       As was the case during previous CPT visits, in practically all the facilities visited the detainees were not offered any activities and spent their time sleeping and loitering around in their cells; not even reading material or board games were made available. In Filakio, due a to lack of staff, the large basketball and volleyball yard was not in use. A similar situation was found in the Mytilini and Petrou Ralli facilities.

 

            However, in some facilities, such as in the Thessaloniki Police Holding Facility, television sets had been installed in the corridors for the migrants to watch from their cells. This is positive, but access to television does not replace the need for the development of a proper regime, including, sport and recreational activities.

 

            Only in the Amygdaleza facility were efforts made to provide some activities; the doors of the dormitories were left open during most of the day and evening for the juveniles to make use of the activity room, where, as a rule, the juveniles would also take their meals together.

 

            The CPT reiterates its previous recommendation that the Greek authorities take the necessary steps to provide an appropriate range of activities for persons detained in the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities.

 

 

47.       The CPT has stressed in the past that any attempt to provide a suitable regime will fail if the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities are not provided with sufficient and qualified staff[23]. At present, the staffing of the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities is such that the officials concerned are unable to carry out functions other than basic surveillance tasks. For instance, on the day of the visit, at Filakio a shift of six border guards was responsible for 343 detainees and at Mytilini, with a detainee population of 720, there were five border guards on duty during the day. At both the Filakio and Mytilini facilities, a social worker had been appointed; however, not surprisingly, their presence had not had any noticeable effect. The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to review the staff complement attached to each special facility for irregular migrants and police holding facility.

 

 

d.         food

 

 

48.       The supply of food varied in the different establishments visited. For instance, in Thessaloniki, food and bottled water had to be bought from the daily sum available to the detainees (Euro 5.87) and many migrants complained that they could not afford more than two sandwiches a day. Police officers interviewed by the delegation confirmed this state of affairs. The CPT recommends that steps be taken to ensure that all persons detained in facilities for irregular migrants are offered sufficient food, including at least one cooked meal (preferably warm) per day.

 

 

 

e.         medical care

 

 

49.       The CPT’s delegation observed that in most of the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities, there was a regular presence of medical staff; in Filakio, with a capacity of approximately 370 detained persons, there was one full-time doctor and two full-time nurses and in Mytilini (capacity of 300 detainees), there were two part time doctors.

 

            In Petrou Ralli and Amygdaleza, there was an arrangement providing for the presence of a general practitioner, a nurse and a psychologist on a full-time basis, who divided their time between the two facilities.

 

            By contrast, there was no medical staff attached to the Aspropyrgus and Thessaloniki police holding facilities.

 

            Given the increasing numbers of irregular migrants who are detained in the special facilities and police holding facilities, the CPT recommends that the Greek authorities increase the medical staffing complement available for the Amygdaleza, Filakio, Mytilini and Petrou Ralli facilities. Further, the Committee recommends that a sufficiently staffed and equipped health care service be established for the Aspropyrgus and Thessaloniki police holding facilities.

 

 

50.       In view of the health hazards observed at the Mytilini facility, the CPT was concerned to learn that the NGO ‘Médecins sans Frontičres’ had withdrawn its staff from that facility, apparently due to the poor cooperation it received from the Greek authorities. The CPT’s delegation was told that, for instance, access to patients was refused other than through the grilled, locked gates. The CPT would like to receive the remarks of the Greek authorities on this issue.

 

 

51.       As was the case in 2007, in the Alexandroupoli, Mytilini and Orestiada prefectures as well as in the Petrou Ralli facility, apprehended irregular migrants underwent a test for tuberculosis. However, such screening did not take place in any of the other prefectures or (special) holding facilities. Moreover, in none of the facilities visited was medical screening for other transmissible diseases undertaken.

 

            The CPT reiterates that a comprehensive screening for transmissible diseases is indispensable for the health of detainees, staff and the Greek population alike. It should be noted in this respect that in almost all detention facilities, staff were provided with surgical masks and gloves to wear in order to protect themselves from infections. The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to introduce systematic medical screening of all detained irregular migrants, including for transmissible diseases.

 

 

6.         Conclusions

 

 

52.       The findings of the 2008 visit to Greece confirm that persons apprehended by Greek law enforcement agencies continue to run a considerable risk of being ill-treated. However, at the same time, there are signs that some modest steps forward have been made; in particular, compared to previous visits, the CPT’s delegation received fewer allegations from irregular migrants of ill-treatment on apprehension.

 

            In terms of preventing ill-treatment, the Committee is struck by the fact that there continues to be no structured or systematic approach towards addressing this phenomenon. There is no independent police complaints mechanism or independent authority for the inspection of detention facilities of law enforcement agencies, nor are there any standards for systematically carrying out a forensic medical examination on persons making allegations of ill-treatment before a judge. In many cases, not even access to a lawyer or a doctor was arranged in a satisfactory manner. It appeared once again to the CPT that, in Greece, the combating of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials depends largely on personal initiative.

 

            The Greek authorities have made it clear in regulations and public statements that they will not tolerate any abuse by law enforcement officials. However, in order to eradicate ill-treatment by such officials, it is essential that more rigorous systems be put in place which guarantee that allegations of ill-treatment are thoroughly, promptly and effectively investigated by an independent authority and that perpetrators of ill-treatment are punished accordingly. Further, it is important that the system be transparent in order to gain the confidence of the public and to be seen as fair by law enforcement officials.

 

 

53.       The CPT must reiterate that the conditions of detention of the vast majority of irregular migrants deprived of their liberty in Greece remain unacceptable.

 

            Detention facilities in police and border guard stations are designed to hold persons for short periods only and should never be used for prolonged detention. Even for periods of detention of a few days the material conditions, hygiene and access to medical care are unacceptable and call for radical improvement.

 

            Both the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities continue to suffer in many cases from the same defects identified by the Committee in its reports on the 2005 and 2007 visits. The CPT considers that the proposed new facilities in Lesbos and near Patras provide an opportunity for the Greek authorities to construct appropriately designed centres for the detention of foreigners held under Aliens legislation. Care should be taken in the design and layout of these premises to avoid the shortcomings identified at both the Petrou Ralli and Filakio facilities.

 

            The CPT acknowledges the present significant influx of irregular migrants into Greece. However, this cannot justify the poor conditions under which many detained irregular migrants are currently accommodated. The Committee believes that much would be gained from an improved organisation and enhanced cooperation between the main actors responsible for managing accommodation and care for irregular migrants. The Filakio special facility demonstrates that when all the relevant State and local government bodies cooperate, it is possible to provide for a reasonably clean and well-maintained establishment.


54.       The CPT recalls that its first visit to Greece took place in March 1993. To date, more than 15 years after that visit, the Committee finds itself in the regrettable position that it has to repeat many of its recommendations concerning the prevention of ill-treatment. For instance, the 1993 recommendations concerning forensic medical examinations in case of allegations of ill-treatment as well as those concerning the application of fundamental safeguards, such as in particular the right of access to a doctor and the right of access to a lawyer, remain as valid today as they were in 1993. Likewise, recommendations intended to fundamentally improve the conditions of detention for irregular migrants have been made in every report since 1997, but have been largely ignored by the Greek authorities.

 

            The CPT has gone to great lengths over the years to convince the Greek authorities to implement the Committee’s recommendations. The Committee has visited Greece eight times since 1993 and has also held high-level talks with the Greek authorities on two occasions, most recently in February 2007. Until now, to little avail. 

 

            Once again, it has become clear to the CPT that there is an urgent need for an unambiguous commitment at the highest level in order to improve the situation in practice. The CPT trusts that the response of the Greek authorities to this visit report will make clear that the recommendations made by the Committee are being properly implemented.

 

 


 

 

APPENDIX

LIST OF THE CPT'S RECOMMENDATIONS,
COMMENTS AND REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

 

 

 

Cooperation between the CPT and the Greek authorities

 

comments

 

-        the quality of the ongoing dialogue between the Greek authorities and the Committee could be improved by the designation of a distinct government department to be permanently responsible for maintaining contact with the CPT (paragraph 6).

 

 

Facts found during the visit and action proposed

 

Preliminary remarks

 

requests for information

 

-        the practical implications of the planned integration of members of the border guards into the police force and, in particular, whether border guards will be considered as fully-fledged police officers; whether additional training will be provided to border guards (paragraph 9).

 

 

Ill-treatment

 

recommendations

 

-        strenuous efforts to be made by the Greek authorities to combat the phenomenon of ill-treatment of apprehended persons by law enforcement officials (paragraph 13);

 

-        whenever criminal suspects brought before a judge allege ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, the judge to record the allegations in writing, order immediately a forensic medical examination and take the necessary steps to ensure that the allegations are properly investigated. Such an approach should be followed whether or not the person concerned bears visible external injuries. Further, even in the absence of an express allegation of ill-treatment, the judge should respect a forensic medical examination whenever there are other grounds to believe that a person brought before him could have been the victim of ill-treatment (paragraph 15);

 

-        a system of frequent visits to law enforcement establishments by an independent authority to  be established (paragraph 16);

 

-        the necessary steps to be taken to establish an independent police complaints mechanism (paragraph 17).


comments

 

-    the CPT trusts that the instruction of 4 June 2008 of the Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation will be rigorously applied and that allegations of ill-treatment will be investigated promptly, thoroughly and effectively (paragraph 14).

.

 

requests for information

 

-        the outcome of the criminal and disciplinary investigations into the allegations of ill-treatment made by a person detained in September 2008 at Omonia Square Police Station (paragraph 12);

 

-        the views of the Greek authorities on the proposal to establish a specialised custodial service for persons detained by law enforcement agencies (paragraph 18).

 

 

Fundamental safeguards against ill-treatment

 

recommendations

 

-        immediate steps to be taken to ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty by law enforcement officials have an effective right to notify a close relative or third party of their choice of their situation, and to have access to a lawyer, and are informed about these rights in an appropriate language, as from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty (paragraph 20);

 

-        immediate steps to be taken to ensure that individualised custody records are kept at the location where the persons concerned are detained (paragraph 22);

 

-        the existing arrangements concerning access to a doctor and the provision of health care for persons held by law enforcement agencies to be reviewed, in the light of the remarks in paragraph 23 (paragraph 23).

 

 

comments

 

-        the Greek authorities are invited to reconsider the policy of systematically confiscating the mobile phones of detained irregular migrants (paragraph 21).

 

 

Conditions of detention in police and border guard stations

 

recommendations

 

-     the Greek authorities to:

 

·       take the necessary measures to reduce overcrowding in police and border guard stations, inter alia, by a better distribution of detained persons between establishments;

·       provide specific facilities for female detainees. Female detainees should never be accommodated in a cell together with male detainees with whom they have no family relationship;

·       clean, and where necessary refurbish, detention areas, in particular sanitary installations (showers and toilets). Preferably, access to sufficient natural light should be provided in all detention areas;

·       provide for effective ventilation of all detention areas;

·       provide access to outdoor exercise on a daily basis for all detained persons staying beyond 24 hours;

·       install call bells in all detention areas;

·       ensure that each detained person is provided with a clean mattress and a clean blanket;

·       systematically and regularly provide all detained persons staying for longer than 24 hours with a basic toilet kit, including adequate rations of soap, washing powder, toilet paper, shampoo, tooth paste, tooth brush and shaving utensils free of charge

(paragraph 35);.

 

-        the Xanthi Police and Border Guard Station to be taken out of service until such time as the detention area is renovated (paragraph 35);

 

-        the Greek authorities to make a concerted effort to move away from the practice of detaining persons for prolonged periods in police and border guard stations (paragraph 36).

 

 

Conditions of detention in special facilities for irregular migrants and police holding facilities

    

recommendations

 

-        the Greek authorities to put in place a contingency plan to cope with any massive influx of irregular migrants (paragraph 38);

 

-        the following improvements to be made in the Petrou Ralli and Aspropyrgus Police Holding Facilities:

 

·       access to toilets to be guaranteed, including at night;

·       call bells to be installed in all cells;

·       arrangements to be put in place to provide every newly-arrived detainee with a clean blanket and clean mattress

(paragraph 39);.

 

-        an outdoor exercise yard to be constructed at the Aspropyrgus Holding Facility and daily outdoor exercise at the Petrou Ralli Holding Facility to be provided (paragraph 39);

-        immediate steps to be taken to provide appropriate living conditions in the Mytilini Special Facility for Irregular Migrants, in the light of the remarks in paragraph 40 (paragraph 40);

 

-        with respect to all the centres visited, the Greek authorities to ensure that:

 

·       the occupancy rates are revised so as to offer a minimum of 4m˛ of space per detainee;

·       all detainees are offered a bed or plinth, blanket and mattress, all clean;

·       all detainees have unimpeded access to toilet facilities, including at night;

·       all detainees are allowed to spend a large proportion of the day outside their cells and to have at least one hour of outdoor exercise a day;

·       sufficient quantities of detergent and products for personal hygiene are made available to detainees at all times

 (paragraph 44);

 

-        the necessary steps to be taken to draw up and implement, as soon as possible, operating standards for both the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities (paragraph 45);

 

-        the necessary steps to be taken to provide an appropriate range of activities for persons detained in the special facilities for irregular migrants and the police holding facilities (paragraph 46);

 

-        the staff complement attached to each special facility for irregular migrants and police holding facility to be reviewed (paragraph 47);

 

-        steps to be taken to ensure that all persons detained in facilities for irregular migrants are offered sufficient food, including at least one cooked meal (preferably warm) per day (paragraph 48);

 

-        the medical staffing complement available for the Amygdaleza, Filakio, Mytilini and Petrou Ralli facilities to be increased (paragraph 49);

 

-        a sufficiently staffed and equipped health care service for the Aspropyrgus and Thessaloniki police holding facilities to be established (paragraph 49);

 

-        systematic medical screening of all detained irregular migrants, including for transmissible diseases, to be introduced (paragraph 51).

 

comments

 

-        the Peplos and Vrissika special facilities for irregular migrants should be fully reconstructed and extensively refurbished before being reopened (paragraph 37).

requests for information

 

-        the remarks of the Greek authorities on the withdrawal of the NGO ‘Médecins sans Frontičres’ from the Mytilini facility (paragraph 50).

 


[1]              Article 10 (2) states that “If the Party fails to co-operate or refuses to improve the situation in the light of the Committee's recommendations, the Committee may decide, after the Party has had an opportunity to make known its views, by a majority of two-thirds of its members to make a public statement on the matter”.

[2]              See also paragraph 12 above.

[3]              See CPT/ Inf (2006) 41, paragraph 48 and CPT/ Inf (2002) 31, paragraph 10, respectively.

[4]              In addition, the man had a severely swollen scrotum. The swollen scrotum was diagnosed as an inguinal hernia, which was attended to at the hospital (see paragraph 23 above).

[5]              Part of the cheek bone.

[6]              Prot No: 2294/ circ. 6, referring to circular Prot. No. 2834/cir.4/31.10.2002

[7]              In one case, described in paragraph 80 of CPT/ Inf (2006) 41, the prosecutor had not yet obtained a statement from the alleged perpetrator.

 

[8]              See CPT/Inf (2008) 3, paragraph 46.

[9]              See report of 15 September 2008 from the Deputy Prosecutor of Piraeus District Court Prosecution Department to the Piraeus Prosecutor at the Court of Appeals (ABM: C07/1918, D.O. - 07/251).

[10]            Medical examinations carried out by both a doctor from the CPT’s delegation and a medical doctor attached to the prison indicated that the inmate has suffered the following injuries: Two purplish bruises behind the right ear (measuring 1.3 cm x 1.2 cm and 1 cm x 0.9 cm, respectively); a purple bruise behind the left ear (measuring 2.2 cm x 1.6 cm); two red bruises on the right mid-lower back (8.5 cm x 0.5 cm and 3.5 cm x 0.9 cm, respectively); and swelling and tenderness in relation to the left cheek bone (he was unable to open his mouth fully).

[11]            On the minimum standards for a forensic medical examination, see CPT/Inf (2006) 41, paragraph 56.

[12]            See CPT Inf (2001) 31, paragraph 22; CPT Inf (2006) 41, paragraph 21; and CPT Inf (2008) 3, paragraph 44.

[13]            See CPT/Inf (2008) 3, paragraph 44.

[14]            The Greek  Ombudsman has also expressed concern about this (see the Ombudsman’s annual report 2006, page 12).

[15]            See paragraph 12 above.

[16]            See CPT/Inf (2008) 3, paragraph 21

[17]            A CPT’s delegation had visited the Filakio facility in February 2007, before it was brought into service.

[18]            See CPT/ Inf (2006) 41, paragraph 60 and CPT/ Inf (2008) 3, paragraph 30.

[19]            From discussion with police officers based in the Alexandroupoli Prefecture, the CPT understands that the Hellenic Police Force holds a similar view in respect of the reopening of the Peplos facility.

[20]                           According Article 76 of the 2005 Aliens Law, the administrative detention of irregular migrants has a maximum duration of three months.

[21]            See paragraph 40 below.

[22]            For instance, dormitory n° 5, with a surface area of approximately 108 m˛, contained almost 80 beds.

[23]            See CPT/Inf (2006) 41, paragraph 71 and CPT/ Inf (2008) 3, paragraph 34.

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