On February 19th 2019, the report of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) about the situation of psychiatric patients in immigration detainees centers in Greece was published.
The Council observers visited, during the period from 10 to 19 April 2018, five immigration centers. The report highlights the systemic overcrowding in three of the five psychiatric establishments visited (Evangelismos, Gennimatas and Sotiria), with patients at Evangelismos being accommodated in the corridors.
In all five hospitals visited, the CPT is critical of the lack of staff and over-reliance on pharmacotherapy, and the fact that patients were offered few activities. Another concern is the widespread practice of excessive and/or inappropriate use of mechanical restraint.
The CPT also received some isolated allegations of ill-treatment (punches, tight restraints, and verbal abuse) by staff at the private “Athina Vrilissa” Psychiatric Clinic. Further, at Korydallos Prison Psychiatric Hospital, it found that the use of the basement protection cells for the seclusion of patients without supervision and for extended periods could easily be considered inhuman and degrading. Moreover, safeguards surrounding involuntary placement procedures were found to be insufficient in law and practice.
In their response, the Greek authorities accepted most of CPT’s recommendations aimed at improving the situation in psychiatric establishments.
In the course of the visit, the CPT received a number of credible allegations of police ill-treatment (slaps, punches, kicks, baton blows and verbal abuse) from foreign nationals held in detention in the Evros region and at Moria Pre-removal Centre on Lesvos. It also received several credible allegations about the occurrence of “push-back” operations, whereby foreign nationals were returned from Greece to Turkey by boat across the Evros River; some of the persons met alleged that they had been ill-treated (including baton blows to the head) by police and border guard officers or (para-) military commandos during such operations.
The report highlights the situation in Greece, which faces a situation of great pressure without counting on a real redistribution within the European Union of the people accepted.
Report (read more)
by Christian Elia