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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Greece


Strasbourg, 26.07.2016 - A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Greece from 19 to 25 July 2016.

One of the primary purposes of the visit was to examine the situation in the “Reception and Identification Centres” (so-called “hotspots”) on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos and to evaluate any developments since the Committee’s April 2016 visit. The delegation also visited a number of police stations and holding facilities for irregular migrants in Athens, Thessaloniki and on the Aegean islands. A further focus of the visit was to look into the treatment of criminal suspects held in police custody and the safeguards afforded to them.

In the course of the visit, the delegation held consultations with Ioannis MOUZALAS, Alternate Minister of Migration Policy, and met with Lt. General Zacharoula TSIRIGOTI, Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Police Headquarters, and other senior officers of the Hellenic Police as well as senior officials from the Ministry of Migration Policy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Further, discussions were held with Vassilis KARYDIS, Acting Greek Ombudsman and Head of the National Preventive Mechanism, and representatives of the UNHCR Offices in Athens and on the islands visited.

The visit was carried out by Anton VAN KALMTHOUT and Ilvija PŪCE, both members of the CPT. They were supported by Hugh CHETWYND, Head of Division, and Sebastian RIETZ of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by Alan MITCHELL, general medical practitioner, Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre, United Kingdom (expert).

At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the Greek authorities.

The delegation visited the following places:

Reception and Identification Centres (so-called “hotspots”):
 
-              Moria “hotspot”, Lesvos
-              Vathi “hotspot”, Samos
-              VIAL “hotspot”, Chios
 
Immigration Detention Facilities:
 
-              Athens Airport holding facilities for irregular migrants
-              Amygdaleza Special holding facility for unaccompanied minors
-              Petrou Ralli Special holding facility for irregular migrants
-              Thessaloniki Special holding facility for irregular migrants
 
Police and Border Guard Stations:
 
-              Alexandras Street Police Headquarters, Athens
-              Chios Police Station, Chios
-              Drapetsona Police Station, Piraeus
-              Kordelio Border Guard Station, Thessaloniki
-              Monasteriou General Police Headquarters, Thessaloniki
-              Mygdonia Border Guard Station, Thessaloniki
-              Mytilene Police Station, Lesvos
-              Vathi Police Station, Samos


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