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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee carries out visit to prisons in Greece

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Greece from 22 November to 1 December 2021 to examine the treatment of persons in prison.
06/12/2021
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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee carries out visit to prisons in Greece

The main objective of the visit was to examine the treatment of prisoners and to review the progress made by the authorities in implementing the Committee’s recommendations made over the past 10 years, in particularly regarding overcrowding and poor conditions of detention, inter-prisoner violence, severe understaffing, and health care provision. The delegation also looked into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in prisons.

To this end, the CPT’s delegation carried out follow-up visits to Korydallos Men’s Prison, Korydallos Prison Health Centre and Nigrita Prison. It also visited Chios Prison and, for the first time, Corfu and Kos Prisons. In addition, the delegation carried out targeted visits to the Athens Transfer Centre for Prisoners under the authority of the Hellenic Police and to Korydallos Prison Psychiatric Hospital.

In the course of the visit, the delegation held meetings with Eleftherios Oikonomou, Deputy Minister of Citizens Protection and Sofia Nikolaou, General Secretary for Anti-Crime Policy as well as with Ioannis Stalikas, Head of the General Directorate of Crisis and Prison Management, Prokopios Prokopiou, Head of the General Directorate of Anti-Crime and Penitentiary Policy, and other senior officials responsible for prison matters from the Ministry of Citizens Protection.

The delegation also met Andreas Pottakis, the Greek Ombudsman, and representatives from his Office in their capacity as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM).

In the course of the visit, the delegation also had consultations with the Minister for Immigration and Asylum, Panagiotis Mitarachi, on the development of the new “closed controlled access centres”, the treatment of unaccompanied migrant minors and the establishment of an independent border monitoring mechanism.

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

The visit was carried out by Alan Mitchell, President of the CPT (Head of delegation), Djordje Alempjević, Olga Noyanova, Elsa Bára Traustadóttir and Elisabetta Zamparutti. They were supported by Hugh Chetwynd (Head of Division) and Sebastian Rietz of the CPT’s Secretariat, and assisted by Martin Lomas, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons in England and Wales, United Kingdom (expert).