We are following with particular concern, yet more reports of torture to a prisoner, a hunger striker, being suddenly transferred, that even triggered a rebellion by the Korydallos prisoners today, 24/02/2018.
Pleiades call on the Ministry of Justice to commit itself to improving the treatment of detainees and to put an end to the sudden transfers involving the Special Repressive Anti-terrorist Unit of the Hellenic Police (EKAM)'s entry in Prison, unless it is absolutely necessary.
About two months ago, on 18/12/2017, we watched the EKAM enter into the Patra Prison, where it was reported that the more active members of the Prisoner Struggle Committee were “abducted” during the peak of the inmates' nonviolent negotiations with the MoJ, and then each dispersed to a different prison.
In that case, as in today’s, it was reported that the transferees were tortured and not permitted to even take their belongings.
Clearly, the issue of unjustified EKAM operations within prisons have been vividly recalled with the –torturous at times- and in any case totally arbitrary way in which transfers are decided and carried out, without any active participation from the prisoner – a body of rights that among others are protected also by articles 3, 8 and 13 of the ECHR.
We therefore strongly recommend:
- That the MoJ invites EVERY detainee to provide any of his objections in the case of an imminent transfer decision, his participation regarding his placement, his right to be "heard in advance" (according to art.20 of the Greek Constitution), to be represented by a lawyer, even from the pro bono list, and to have a practical and effective legal means at hand, in the case of a decision which he considers to harm his rights, notably, preventively, and before the decision is implemented.
- That in all cases where the EKAM enters the prison, the Ombudsman's National Mechanism ensuring the OPCAT and also the Mechanism for the Investigation of Incidents of Arbitrariness by Police and Penitentiary Bodies, be activated ex officio, in order to ensure compliance with the principle of proportionality and the assurance that the operation is in absolute necessity and not to corroborate (widespread, unfortunately) arbitrary "aesthetics". To publish the reasons justifying such operations in the Independent Authority's Periodic Reports.
-If a violation of the principle of absolute necessity is found, the Ombudsman to exercise his mandate to refer this to the Prosecutor for further legal action, together with his opinion on the arbitrariness that has arisen.
It should finally be reminded that in all cases of reports of prisoners' torture and arbitrary action by penitentiary and police authorities, an immediate, independent and impartial investigation must be followed for those reported as responsible for the torture in reference, both by the Prosecuting Authority, as well as by the relevant protecting Mechanism against Torture, assigned to the Ombudsman, as the most appropriate Authority to carry this mandate in Greek jurisdiction.
Pleiades closely follow the activation (or not) of the Independent Authority, as well as its effectiveness (or not) in securing the rights it now guarantees, at the national level, in order to prepare a relevant Report on its role and effectiveness, as perceived by civil society, addressed to the competent supra-national authorities and Organizations.