CPT: Publication of the report on its ad hoc visit to Greece

The Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published the report of its ad hoc visit to Greece, which took place from 22 November to 1 December 2021, as well as the response of the authorities.

The main objective of the visit was to examine the treatment of detainees and to examine the progress made by the authorities in implementing the Committee’s recommendations made over the past 10 years concerning overcrowding and poor conditions of detention. , inter-prisoner violence, severe staff shortages and inadequate health care provision. To this end, the report outlines key findings from visits to Korydallos men’s prison, the country’s largest pre-trial detention facility, and Nigrita prison as well as prisons on the islands of Chios, Corfu and Kos. .

The CPT concludes that far too many prisoners in Greece continue to be held in conditions which represent an affront to their human dignity. The Committee urges the Greek authorities to ensure that prisons do not merely store people in overcrowded, dangerous and deplorable conditions, without purposeful activities, in places which offer decent living conditions and which prepare people to reintegrate into society after their release. In addition, the Greek authorities must invest in a sufficient number of competent staff to manage the prisons and provide the necessary support to people detained in prison.

The CPT found that the treatment of patients at the Korydallos Prison Health Center had improved mainly due to the decrease in the number of patients and the increase in staff. On the other hand, a focused visit to Korydallos Prison Psychiatric Hospital revealed an institution that has been so neglected that it has been unable to provide proper care to its patients. The report also criticizes the way autopsies are carried out and the lack of thorough investigations into deaths in custody.

Furthermore, while the report notes some progress in the treatment of persons detained at the Athens Prisoner Transfer Centre, the CPT is again highly critical of the conditions in which prisoners are transported across the country by the Hellenic Police.

In their response, the Greek authorities provide information on the measures taken to implement the recommendations made in the CPT’s report. In particular, a revised Strategic Plan for the prison system is being drawn up taking into account the CPT’s proposals.

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Jacob L. Thornton