March 26, 2016

Greece condemned for Ineffective investigation into a racist assault on an Afghan national and his conditions of detention in an Athens police station

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In the case of Sakir v. Greece (application no. 48475/09) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights with regard to Mr Sakir’s conditions of detention in in the Aghios Panteleïmon police station in Athens, a violation of Article 3 of the Convention with regard to the conduct of the investigation carried out following the assault.

The case concerned an assault against Rafi Sakir in 2009 in the centre of Athens which led to his hospitalisation, and also the conditions in which he was detained in a police station after his release from hospital.

The Court found in particular that the police had not sought to ascertain from the hospital whether Mr Sakir’s state of health allowed him to be placed in detention. It noted that, in spite of specific instructions from his doctors, there had been shortcomings in the manner in which his medical condition and state of vulnerability were taken into account.

The Court also found a violation of Article 13 of the Convention on account of the lack of an effective remedy to complain about the conditions of detention.

Furthermore, the Court noted shortcomings in the investigation conducted following the assault, with regard to the gathering of evidence and the questioning of witnesses. In particular, it queried the authorities’ failure to shed light on whether or not A.S.’s statement was truthful and on the circumstances surrounding his statements. Finally, it noted that the authorities had failed to assess the case in the particular context of the racist incidents which frequently occurred in Athens.

See the Press Release here
See the Judgment here (in French)