Torture in  [Greece]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Greece]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Greece]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Greece]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                        

Republic of Greece

Greece has a capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP about two-thirds that of the leading euro-zone economies. Tourism provides 15% of GDP. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, mainly in agricultural and unskilled jobs.

Public debt, inflation, and unemployment are above the euro-zone average, but are falling.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Greece

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Greece.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Greece: Anti-torture report highlights “totally unacceptable” detention conditions

Council of Europe, 16 Oct 2014

[accessed 21 November 2014]

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) reports today that “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’s summary describes the “totally unacceptable conditions in which irregular migrants are held in police establishments all over the country for prolonged periods.”

The CPT called upon the Greek authorities to take “urgent steps to transfer detained irregular migrants to specially designed centres and to no longer hold them in police stations. The conditions of detention at the Port Authority of Igoumenitsa are also criticised.

Probe Finds Evidence of Torture at Nigrita

A. Papapostolou, GreekReporter, 5 Apr 2014

[accessed 8 April 2014]

All the prison guards who tortured Albanian inmate Ilia Kareli in Nigrita, Greece, have confessed and expressed regret for their actions, and asked to be released.

To hide the crime, Kareli was tortured in a cell without cameras for more than two-and-a-half hours, after which guards pretended he was conscious as they dragged him to his cell, even though they knew they had already killed him.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 2 March 2014]

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment against individuals including members of vulnerable groups such as migrants and asylum-seekers held in immigration detention persisted. Systemic problems leading to impunity remained, including the authorities’ frequent failure to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations and to ensure the right to effective remedy. In January, the European Court of Human Rights held that the rape with a truncheon of an irregular migrant by a coastguard in May 2001 amounted to torture (Zontul v. Greece). In August, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Greece failed to investigate the complaint of ill-treatment and discrimination by the police of a Greek Romani man in 1999 (Katsaris v. Greece).

In March, a Mixed Jury Appeal Court in Athens acquitted two police officers of causing bodily harm under the provision against torture in the Criminal Code to two refugees at the Aghios Panteleimon police station, Athens, in December 2004. The officers had been found guilty at first instance.

In October, serious allegations of torture of 15 anti-fascist protesters by police at the General Police Directorate in Athens on 30 September came to light. Supporters of the protesters, arrested on 1 October, also alleged that they were subjected to treatment amounting to torture at the Directorate. The authorities denied the allegations, but an investigating judge requested that the Public Prosecutor bring criminal charges against the police officers involved in the human rights violations of the protesters.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6 (2012)

[accessed 27 February 2013]

Allegations of torture and ill-treatment, impunity

10. The Committee expresses its serious concern at persistent allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials during arrest or detention, including in the premises of the Criminal Investigation Departments (CID). The Committee is also concerned at the limited number of such cases that have been prosecuted, the very limited number of final convictions, and the lack of sanctions due to mitigating circumstances etc, in cases where there have been convictions. The Committee notes that this does not correspond to recent decisions and rulings from international bodies, including the Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights, as well as persistent allegations and extensive documentation received from other sources. The Committee also reiterates its concern at the continued reluctance of prosecutors to institute criminal proceedings under article 137A of the Criminal Code and that only one case has resulted in a conviction under this article. In addition, the Committee shares the concern of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture regarding the limited forensic evidence available to corroborate allegations of ill-treatment amounting to torture (arts. 1, 2, 4, 12 and 16).

The State party should:

(a) As a matter of urgency, take immediate and effective measures to prevent acts of torture or ill-treatment, including through public sensitization as well as the announcement and adoption of a policy that would produce measurable results in the eradication of torture or ill-treatment by State officials;

(b) Promptly amend its interrogation rules and procedures, such as introducing audio or videotaping, with a view to preventing torture and ill-treatment;

(c) Duly bring to trial alleged perpetrators of acts of torture or ill-treatment and, if they are found guilty, punish them with appropriate penalties which take into account the grave nature of their acts.

The EU’s Dirty Hands

Human Rights Watch, 21 September 2011

[accessed 28 January 2013]

Human Rights Watch’s observations and the testimonies we gathered on detention conditions in Evros in December 2010 were consistent with our previous reports on conditions in Greek migrant detention centers dating from 2008 and those of other organizations which have been monitoring and documenting the conditions of detention for migrants in Greece.  In a January 2011 review of these reports the ECtHR concluded:

All the centers visited by bodies and organizations that produced the reports … describe a similar situation to varying degrees of gravity: overcrowding, dirt, lack of ventilation, little or no possibility of taking a walk, no place to relax, insufficient mattresses, no free access to toilets, inadequate sanitary facilities, no privacy, limited access to care. Many of the people interviewed also complained of insults, particularly racist insults, proffered by staff and the use of physical violence by guards.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 28 January 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; however, security forces abused a few persons, particularly immigrants and Roma (see section 5).

At year's end no date had been set for the trial of two police officers charged with subjecting a group of Afghan asylum seekers in December 2004 to interrogation techniques that allegedly included torture. There were no developments in either the civil lawsuit against three officers or the police investigation of allegations by two Kalamata high school students that police beat them during a routine identity check in 2003. Likewise, there were no developments in the 2003 cases of two British citizens who alleged that police beat them or of three migrants who alleged police tortured them when they attempted to return to Albania.

In a letter to the Ministry of Public Order (MPO) made public in January, the deputy ombudsman for human rights noted numerous procedural and substantive shortcomings in the investigation concerning the alleged police torture in 2002 of Nigerian citizen Joseph Okeke and the alleged 2002 beating and torture of Yannis Papacostas in a police station near Athens. The deputy ombudsman called the police to re-evaluate its report on Okeke, arguing that the procedure suffered from gross errors concerning the evaluation and appraisal of the available evidence. At year's end an application based on this case was pending with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) alleging violation of the article in the European Convention on Human Rights that prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

In December the ECHR ordered the government to pay a fine of $12 thousand (10 thousand euros) to each of 2 Roma men for inhuman and degrading treatment by police in Mesolonghi in 1998. According to forensics reports, police severely beat the men during interrogation after arresting them for allegedly breaking into a kiosk. The country was found to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights for failure to conduct an effective investigation into an incident with possible racist motives, a violation of the procedural provision against racial discrimination.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Greece",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Greece]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Greece]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Greece]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Greece]  [other countries]