November 5, 2014

Case of torture by Coast Guards off Chios in 2007: Appeal Court on 6-11-2014 ‏

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Οn 6 November 2014 the Supreme Military Court of Athens (Petrou Ralli str. 1, at 9:00 am) is going to examine the appeal by the two coast guards found guilty at first instance for having committed acts of torture against an asylum seeker, including restricting the victim’s breathing so as to simulate drowning and suffocation (‘wet and dry submarine’), carrying out mock execution, as well as other serious attacks on human dignity, immediately after the victim’s entry into Greece and during his transfer with other asylum-seekers to the Port of Chios. The above-mentioned incident was first documented in the report entitled “The truth may be bitter but it must be told – The Situation of Refugees in the Aegean and the Practices of the Greek Coast Guard” by the Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants and the NGO Pro-Asyl, which was published in 2007 and had attracted extensive publicity.

The two defendents had received at first instance suspended jail sentences of 6- and 3-years as well as long-term deprival of their political rights. In addition, one of the convicted coast guards was going to face demotion once the decision became final.

The victim is going to be present during the hearing and the Group of Lawyers will be by his side. However, he needs the support of all of us. At a time when arrivals through the sea are on the rise and so are the boat wrecks and the deaths at sea, at a time when the military judiciary is turning a blind eye to a series of recent 'push-backs' and other illegal acts of deterrence against migrants and refugees, the justice that was served at first instance must be upheld.