Καταδίκη Ελλάδας για απάνθρωπες συνθήκες κράτησης
Επανειλημμένως έχει καταδικαστεί η χώρα μας από το Ευρωπαικό Δικαστήριο Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων για τις άθλιες συνθήκες κράτησης σε κρατητήρια της Αστυνομίας, κέντρα κράτησης – «φιλοξενίας» αλλοδαπών και φυλακές.
Ακόμα μία καταδικαστική απόφαση εκδόθηκε μόλις χθες 25.9.2012. Παρατίθεται ολόκληρο το κείμενο της απόφασης όπως δημοσιεύτηκε από το επίσημο site του ΕΔΔΑ:
Press Release, issued by the Registrar of the Court, ECHR 350 (2012), 25.09.2012
Greek authorities unlawfully detained an Afghan asylum seeker
in degrading conditions
In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Ahmade v. Greece (application
no. 50520/09), which is not final1, the European Court of Human Rights held,
unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), taken
separately and in conjunction with Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the
European Convention on Human Rights, in respect of the conditions of the applicant’s
a violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3 in respect of the risk of the
a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and,
a violation of Article 5 § 4 (procedural guarantees of review).
The case concerned the arrest and detention pending removal to Afghanistan of an
Afghan national. The Court noted in particular that the applicant’s detention had caused
him considerable suffering and no effective remedy had been available to him to
complain about it. It further observed that he had been held unlawfully and that there
had been no review of the lawfulness of his detention. Lastly, the Court once again
pointed to the shortcomings in the Greek asylum system. It emphasised that the
applicant risked being removed before his asylum appeals had been heard.
The applicant, Seydmajed Ahmade, is an Afghan national who lives in Athens (Greece).
Mr Ahmade arrived in Greece on 23 December 2007. He was arrested several times
between then and 11 August 2008 and each time various removal decisions were taken
against him. Following a fight, the applicant was arrested again on 27 August 2009. His
removal was ordered once again and he was held at the police station on the ground
that he posed a threat to public order and was likely to abscond on account of the
criminal proceedings against him concerning the fight.
He was committed for trial before the Athens Criminal Court, in particular for illegally
entering Greece. On 31 August 2009, for that offence alone, he was given a suspended
sentence of 30 days’ imprisonment and fined 40 euros for costs. As he could not pay
that sum he was held at the police station for 8 days.
On 8 September the applicant lodged an asylum application with the Refugee
1 Under Articles 43 and 44 of the Convention, this Chamber judgment is not final. During the three-month
period following its delivery, any party may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the
Court. If such a request is made, a panel of five judges considers whether the case deserves further
examination. In that event, the Grand Chamber will hear the case and deliver a final judgment. If the referral
request is refused, the Chamber judgment will become final on that day.
Once a judgment becomes final, it is transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for
supervision of its execution. Further information about the execution process can be found here:
Mr Ahmade applied to the President of the Athens Administrative Court on 11 September
2009 to complain about the conditions of his detention, referring among other things to
the overcrowding and atrocious hygiene in the police cells. Even though the main
criminal proceedings had in the meantime been discontinued and in spite of his asylum
application, he was unsuccessful in the first instance and on appeal and was held in
custody on the ground that he might abscond because of his illegal situation.
Mr Ahmade’s detention, which was extended in order to guarantee his removal, lasted
for 83 days in total in the cells of two police stations in Athens. He was released on
18 November pending a decision on his asylum application, which was ultimately
dismissed on 14 December 2009. He lodged two appeals against that decision.
Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court
Relying in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) and
Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention, Mr Ahmade complained
about the conditions in which he was detained in the Athens police stations between 27
August and 18 November 2009 and the lack of an effective remedy in that connection.
He also alleged that, were he to be removed to Afghanistan, he would face inhuman
treatment on account of the current conditions in that country.
Under Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) the applicant further complained that
his detention had been arbitrary, and under Article 5 § 4 that the review of the
lawfulness of the detention pending removal had been ineffective.
The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 21 September
Judgment was given by a Chamber of seven judges, composed as follows:
Nina Vajić (Croatia), President,
Peer Lorenzen (Denmark),
Elisabeth Steiner (Austria),
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska (the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”),
Julia Laffranque (Estonia),
Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos (Greece),
Erik Møse (Norway),
and also Søren Nielsen, Section Registrar.
Decision of the Court
As regards the conditions of Mr Ahmade’s detention in the first police station, the Court
referred to the report of the Ombudsman, who visited the applicant on 10 September
2009. The Ombudsman had reported significant overcrowding, poor ventilation, lighting
and cleanliness, and no possibility of taking exercise in a courtyard.
The Court further referred to the findings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on
Torture, according to whom detainees had to obtain the authorisation of a police officer
to use the toilets, could not take showers, were obliged to sleep on benches or on the
floor, and were held in dark and stuffy cells.
Pointing out that the applicant had been held for a total of 83 days in two police stations,
the Court observed that Greek regulations normally allowed detention in a police station
only for the duration that was strictly necessary to arrange transfer to a prison.
The Court thus concluded that the holding of Mr Ahmade in custody constituted
degrading treatment in breach of Article 3.
Article 3 taken together with Article 13
The Court found that Greek law allowed the courts to examine the decision to detain an
illegal immigrant only on the basis of a risk of absconding or of a threat to public order
but did not give the courts jurisdiction to examine the living conditions in detention
centres for illegal immigrants or to order the release of a detainee on the grounds of
The Court further noted that the applicant had complained about the poor conditions of
his detention on two occasions before the President of the Athens Administrative Court,
but had received no answer.
The Court attributed particular weight to the context of the case, noting that the
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture had, in a number of its reports,
conveyed a bleak picture of the very poor conditions in which illegal immigrants were
held in police stations, for months at a time, without any possibility of outdoor exercise
or activities and without adequate health care.
The Court concluded that the applicant did not have an effective remedy by which to
complain about the conditions of his detention, in breach of Articles 3 taken together
Article 13 taken together with Article 3
Verifying whether in the present case there were any effective guarantees to protect Mr
Ahmade against arbitrary refoulement to his country of origin, the Court observed that it
had noted, in its judgment in M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece (no. 30696/09), certain
shortcomings in the Greek asylum system (in particular unenforced legislation, structural
defects in the asylum procedure, excessive duration of appeals and insufficient judicial
scrutiny) and had found that asylum seekers were not protected against arbitrary
The Court noted that, in the present case, the actions brought by the applicant in
seeking the annulment of the Refugee Commission’s Decision of 14 December 2009
rejecting his asylum application, and in requesting a stay of execution of that decision,
were still pending. The Court considered that such a length of time was not reasonable in
the case of appeals against removal decisions, especially as the purpose of requesting a
stay of execution was precisely to obtain a speedy decision.
The Court thus found that there had been a violation of Article 13 taken together with
Article 3 on account of the shortcomings in the Greek asylum system and the risk faced
by the applicant, which still existed, of being deported before his asylum appeal had
Articles 5 § 1
The Court, pointing out that sub-paragraph (f) of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention
permitted States to control the liberty of aliens in an immigration context, reiterated that
any deprivation of liberty must, however, be “lawful”, meaning in particular that it must
not be arbitrary. To avoid being branded as arbitrary, detention must be closely
connected to the purpose of preventing unauthorised entry of the person to the country.
In the present case, the Court observed that the applicant’s deprivation of liberty sought
to guarantee his removal. In accordance with the Geneva Convention2 and Greek law,
asylum seekers were entitled to remain in the country until the procedure for examining
their application had been completed. Under Greek law, detention for the purposes of
removal was justified only where the removal could actually be executed, and this was
not the case for asylum seekers.
The Court took the view that the close connection between the applicant’s detention
between 8 September 2009 and 18 November 2009 and the possibility of removing him
from Greece could not be established and thus found that the detention was not “lawful”
within the meaning of Article 5 § 1 (f).
Article 5 § 4
Under Article 5 § 4, the Court observed that it had already addressed the question of the
effectiveness in Greece of judicial scrutiny in respect of detention pending administrative
removal3. It had thus found that Greek law fell short of the requirements of Article 5 § 4.
In particular, section 76 of Law no. 3386/2005, as applied in the present case, did not
expressly confer on a court the power to examine the lawfulness of detention other than
in terms of the risk of absconding or the threat to public order.
In the applicant’s case the Athens Administrative Court had dismissed his complaints
concerning his detention without even examining the question of its lawfulness. The
Court thus found that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 4.
Just satisfaction (Article 41)
The court held that Greece was to pay the applicant 10,000 euros (EUR) in respect of
non-pecuniary damage, and EUR 2,500 in respect of costs and expenses.
The judgment is available only in French.
This press release is a document produced by the Registry. It does not bind the Court.
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The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of
Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European
Convention on Human Rights.
2 Geneva Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees.
3 See, for example, the case of Efremidze v. Greece, no. 33225/08