United Nations

C AT/C/SR.1761

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Distr.: General

31 July 2019

Original: English

Committee against Torture

Sixty-seventh session

Summary record of the 1761st meeting

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Wednesday, 24 July 2019, at 10 a.m.

Chair:Mr. Modvig


Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention (continued)

Seventh periodic report of Greece

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the Convention (continued)

Seventh periodic report of Greece (CAT/C/GRC/7 and CAT/C/GRC/QPR/7)

1. At the invitation of the Chair, the delegation of Greece took places at the Committee table.

2.Mr. Alexandris (Greece) said that, for the new Government, which had very recently taken office, the review of his country’s periodic report came at a time of transition in terms of decision-making, shaping of policies and new legislative initiatives. The fight against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was a key priority of his Government.

3.A policy to curb prison overcrowding through early conditional release schemes had been in place since the second half of 2014. The resulting 20 per cent reduction in the number of prisoners over the following two-year period had maintained the prison population at an affordable and manageable size. Other measures relating to prisons had included organizing educational, vocational, sporting and cultural activities for prisoners; heavily restricting the use of custodial measures for juveniles; granting disabled and seriously ill prisoners early release; and introducing legislative proposals to expand the use of community alternatives to imprisonment. Controlling the prison population was one of the main priorities of the current three-year strategic plan for the period 2018–2020, which sought to ensure respect for the human rights of prisoners and promote their social reintegration.

4.The Ministry of Citizen Protection and the Hellenic Police Headquarters had made significant efforts to enhance their mechanisms for addressing violence and ill-treatment. Police officers were subject to strict disciplinary oversight and officers found guilty of acts that constituted torture or that undermined human dignity faced dismissal. Heavy sanctions could be imposed if such acts were found to be racially motivated. The Greek Ombudsman had been designated as the body responsible for investigating offences allegedly committed by law enforcement personnel.

5.All persons deprived of their liberty were treated in a manner that respected their dignity. They were informed of their rights and permitted to contact their legal representatives and family members; and they had access to emergency health care, with particular attention being paid to vulnerable persons. The police and coast guard sought to ensure respect for human rights while managing the external borders of the European Union. Both bodies had been involved in search and rescue operations and had saved hundreds of migrants in danger at land and sea borders. Police officers were given specific instructions to protect the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees, particularly with regard to respecting human life and dignity, while upholding the principles of non-discrimination, non-refoulement and the legitimate use of force. All necessary steps had been taken to ensure that police procedures were conducted in accordance with national and international law. Police officers were constantly monitored and evaluated by their superiors to that end.

6.In recent years, his country had seen an unprecedented influx of more than 1 million refugees and migrants. Although numbers had significantly decreased following the agreement reached between the European Union and Turkey in the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016, the Greek immigration system remained under intense pressure. Applications for international protection submitted to the Asylum Service had increased drastically since the Service’s establishment in 2013. On average, just under half of all applicants were granted refugee or subsidiary protection status. The Reception and Identification Service was responsible for identifying and registering non-European Union nationals and stateless persons entering the country and for providing information on the international protection, health care and psychological support available to all incoming refugees and migrants. The Service ran six Reception and Identification Centres located at the land border with Turkey and in the Eastern Aegean islands.

7.The national authorities had carried out several cooperation projects and signed memorandums of understanding with international organizations and many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in an effort to manage the migrant inflows. The Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity had enacted a framework for the guardianship of unaccompanied and separated children seeking international protection. A specific module on the protection of fundamental rights and the prevention of torture had been incorporated into the training curriculum of the Hellenic Coast Guard and an internal disciplinary mechanism had been put in place to deal with complaints of human rights violations.

8.Greece was pursuing a comprehensive and victim-oriented action plan to combat trafficking in persons. Standard operating procedures were in place to address challenges such as the early identification of persons at a high risk of becoming victims of trafficking and exploitation, particularly unaccompanied minors. The Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings focused on the identification, protection, rehabilitation and integration of potential victims. Human trafficking indicators were used to assess the vulnerability of migrants registered in the Reception and Identification Centres. The national referral mechanism operated a number of shelters for victims of human trafficking.

9.His country had ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) in 2018, and the Ministry of Citizen Protection and the Hellenic Police Headquarters had set up a new department to deal with domestic violence issues. The General Secretariat for Gender Equality had implemented the National Action Plan on Gender Equality for the period 2016–2020, which included the National Programme on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, with emphasis on supporting women from vulnerable social groups and victims of domestic violence. A comprehensive law on substantive gender equality had been adopted in 2019, which introduced gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting policies.

10.The police force had established offices throughout the country charged with investigating acts of violence based on race, sexual orientation or gender identity and with raising awareness among police officers and the wider public. Data-collection mechanisms had been implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights. The National Council against Racism and Intolerance, an interministerial and multi-stakeholder body, had been tasked with drafting a national action plan to combat racism and intolerance. A law had been adopted that laid down minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, in line with the European Union directive in that area. A number of initiatives had been developed to enhance the capacity-building of judges and prosecutors in diverse areas, such as dealing with racism and xenophobia.

11.Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón (Country Rapporteur) said that, according to alternative sources, the new Penal Code voted on by Parliament in June 2019 did not include a definition of torture in accordance with the Convention, as the Committee had requested in its concluding observations on the combined fifth and sixth periodic reports of Greece (CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, para. 9). Under the new Code, the definition seemed to apply only to instances of systematic torture rather than isolated cases. Furthermore, the new definition reduced the maximum sentence applicable to torture offences, retained the limitation period for such crimes and failed to refer to the consent or acquiescence of public officials. He would appreciate an explanation of the current status of the new Penal Code and he would welcome clarification as to whether the reported shortcomings were accurate. He wished to know why the definition of torture had not been brought into line with the Convention.

12.Following its visits to places of deprivation of liberty in the country in 2017 and 2019, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) had reported numerous shortcomings in terms of the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, which included failing to inform detainees of their rights in a language that they could understand, denying such persons their right to contact relatives or access a lawyer and providing medical care only in emergency situations. The reports had also noted that protocols to be followed in the event of attempted suicide by inmates were lacking, no procedures had been put in place for the medical examination of new detainees and the privacy of detainees was not respected when they underwent examination in hospitals. He wished to know what measures the State party had adopted to tackle the issues highlighted by the CPT in line with its recommendations, and to enforce fundamental legal safeguards for all persons deprived of their liberty, including foreign detainees. He would be interested to know whether all persons deprived of their liberty were registered at the outset of detention and what steps the State party was taking to ensure detention registry entries were completed properly and in full. He would appreciate an explanation as to how the Government guaranteed the right of detained persons to be promptly presented to a judge.

13.According to information available to the Committee, the revised Code of Criminal Procedure adopted in June 2016 provided for the same maximum period of pretrial detention as before, namely 18 months for adults and 5 months for minors, which conflicted with information given in the State party’s report (CAT/C/GRC/7, para. 22). He wondered whether the time limit on pretrial detention had indeed remained unchanged and, if so, he wished to know why the Law-drafting Committee had not amended that limit, particularly for minors. He would like to know whether there were instances where persons in pretrial detention were incarcerated with prisoners convicted of misdemeanours or commercial offences. He asked what measures the State party was taking to address the shortage of prison facilities and ensure that pretrial and convicted detainees were separated.

14.He invited the delegation to comment on the reported disproportionate use of chemical substances to control groups of persons, abuse and excessive use of force by the police and persistent violence against refugees and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, and to explain what preventive measures had been adopted.

15.The State party’s conviction of just one perpetrator of torture was a cause for even greater concern in the light of the 25 cases of torture and 145 cases of physical attacks identified by the National Mechanism for the Investigation of Arbitrary Incidents (EMIDIPA) between June 2017 and December 2018. The vast majority of those cases involved the police, while the remainder involved the Hellenic Coast Guard. The CPT had also reported ill-treatment, particularly of foreigners, in police custody and in pre-deportation detention centres. Furthermore, EMIDIPA had identified shortcomings in the police investigations into such cases and had made recommendations to ensure their independence, impartiality and effectiveness. He wished to know what progress had been made in the investigations into the cases reported by EMIDIPA and the CPT, including whether proceedings had been launched and sanctions imposed on the perpetrators. He asked what specific measures, both judicial and administrative, had been adopted and whether victims were kept informed of the investigations and had obtained redress. He requested an update on the criminal proceedings against the police officers responsible for the killing of 15-year-old Alexis Gregoropoulos and asked whether his family had obtained redress or compensation.

16.There were serious problems affecting the system for identifying migrant women who had been victims of sexual and gender-based violence, and it was reported that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals who had suffered torture and sexual violence in their countries of origin had been detained without appropriate gender-based separation, leaving them vulnerable to abuse by other detainees, including rape. Measures to prevent sexual and gender-based violence at the reception centres known as “hotspots” were insufficient. He therefore asked what measures were being adopted to establish effective mechanisms to evaluate sexual violence, what was being done to ensure that female victims could report such violence to the authorities and access abortion and emergency contraception in a timely and effective manner, and what additional security measures were being introduced to prevent sexual and gender-based violence in hotspots. Noting the report’s lack of specific statistics on violence against women, he asked whether that omission was due to a failure to collect such data, or whether it had been an oversight.

17.The Committee welcomed the State party’s ratification of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Trafficking in Persons Protocol, as well as the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. He requested data, disaggregated by year, on the number of reports lodged by victims of trafficking and on the compensation awarded to them, and an update on the information on trafficking provided in the report.

18.While commending the State party’s efforts to align its norms and practices with European Union standards on asylum and the reception of refugees, as well as the significant resources allocated to increasing its capacity to deal with the influx of refugees and asylum seekers, he noted that areas of significant concern remained. Despite the State party’s claim that it had never violated the principle of non-refoulement and that none of the very few people to be returned to Turkey had been asylum seekers, the Committee had received reports that informal forced returns, known as pushbacks, had occurred as recently as 2018 and 2019, with Greek security forces using violence to intercept and expel asylum seekers, including children and pregnant women. Furthermore, the authorities had undertaken administrative investigations into hundreds of cases without involving victims or the NGOs that had reported the incidents, and there was a lack of judicial investigations into the alleged ill-treatment and forced returns. He asked what measures had been taken to prevent the forced return of asylum seekers, whether the monitoring of officials patrolling the border in Evros had increased, why administrative investigations did not involve victims or those who had reported the incidents and whether judicial proceedings, including criminal proceedings, had been launched, particularly in cases of alleged torture or ill-treatment. He requested statistics on expulsions and returns, disaggregated by age, sex and ethnicity, as well as updates to the statistics provided in the report.

19.Although the reforms to the asylum system were welcome, it was still beset by a number of problems. There were reports of months-long delays to access the system for submitting asylum applications remotely, leaving asylum seekers at risk of arrest, detention and deportation. There were also shortcomings in interpreting services, and 60 per cent of asylum seekers attended their initial interviews without legal representation. Few officials were trained to determine whether an asylum seeker was a victim of torture and therefore eligible for transfer from a hotspot to the mainland. Moreover, the system afforded greater guarantees to those on the mainland than those in hotspots. He asked what short- and medium-term measures were planned to address those problems, particularly in hotspots, and requested confirmation of reports that persons arriving from countries predetermined as sources of economic migrants were automatically detained and deported.

20.Noting that the CPT had observed that foreigners’ and unaccompanied minors’ deprivation of liberty did, in fact, exceed 25 days, despite the assurances to the contrary given by the State party in its report, he asked what legal consequences existed in those circumstances and how such situations were avoided. He requested information on the number of extradition, return and expulsion cases during the reporting period in which diplomatic assurances had been obtained, including details of the countries involved. Lastly, he asked whether, between 2012 and 2016, the State party had rejected any requests from a third State for the extradition of alleged perpetrators of torture and whether, as a result, it had launched its own criminal proceedings against those individuals. If so, he would welcome information on each case, including the results of the proceedings.

21.Mr. Hani (Country Rapporteur) said that it was vitally important to bring the definition of torture in the State party’s Penal Code into line with the definition set out in the Convention.

22.He would appreciate additional information on the training courses developed and implemented to ensure that all law enforcement personnel were fully aware of their obligations under the Convention. He wished to know whether a system was in place to assess such programmes on the basis of the effective reduction of cases of torture and ill-treatment. He welcomed the training seminars for prison guards on subjects such as mental health and prisoner reintegration and wished to know the percentage of probation officers, prison guards, law enforcement officers and coast guard personnel who had received such training. He would be grateful for updated information on the restructured training curricula for prison staff announced in the report and whether it would include specific instruction on the Convention and not only generic information on human rights obligations. He wished to know if the planned train-the-trainer programme for prosecutors to be provided by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had actually taken place and whether the redesigned curriculum for prosecutors covered the inadmissibility of confessions obtained under torture.

23.He would like to know whether clear instructions on the prohibition of torture similar to those provided to the Hellenic Coast Guard were also provided to other law enforcement personnel and if the instructions stipulated the sanctions for violations. He would like to know what training programmes on the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol) were available for medical personnel and other persons working with detainees, particularly in the Reception and Identification Centres for migrants, and the number and percentage of doctors and other personnel who had received or were scheduled to receive such training. According to the National Commission for Human Rights, it had repeatedly proposed to provide training to law enforcement personnel on the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules) and on the Istanbul Protocol but had not received a satisfactory response from the authorities. He wondered if the Government intended to remedy that lack of communication and consider accepting the training.

24.He would appreciate information on the process and the frequency of inspections of Reception and Identification Centres and how such procedures prevented torture and ill-treatment, in the context of the new national legislation and the EU-Turkey Statement of 2016. He would like to hear the Government’s assessment of the actions taken pursuant to that statement, with respect to its obligations under the Convention.

25.The Committee had received reports that the national preventive mechanism, established within the Office of the Ombudsman, did not have adequate staff or funding to fulfil its mandate under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The personnel came from other departments of the institution and had not received specific training on torture prevention through monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty. He would appreciate information on any plans to provide the national preventive mechanism with secure funding and appropriately trained personnel. He would like to know whether the budget was stable and regular and when it was received by the national preventive mechanism. He would be grateful for details on how the preventive mandate and the reactive mandate of the Ombudsman coexisted within the same institution. The national preventive mechanism also had a mandate to monitor forcible removals of foreign nationals. He wondered if that additional day-to-day work might hinder the capacity of the mechanism to find long-term systemic solutions under its basic preventive mandate.

26.He asked how the Government coordinated the work of the human rights institutions that addressed the deprivation of liberty – the Office of the Ombudsman, which acted as the national preventive mechanism, and the National Commission for Human Rights, which was the national human rights institution – and how it ensured the effective implementation of their recommendations. He would like to understand how the monitoring by civil society organizations of places of deprivation of liberty, especially Reception and Identification Centres, worked in practice, and what was the role of the army in its coordination. Was there a long-term agreement for such monitoring or were the visits managed on a case-by-case basis? It would be useful to know the number of visits that had been carried out to detention centres, including Reception and Identification Centres, by the national preventive mechanism.

27.Regarding general detention conditions, he would like to know the total number of prison doctors and the doctor-prisoner ratio. Given that rural prison facilities had been presented as a solution to prison overcrowding, he wished to know the criteria governing the transfer of prisoners from ordinary prisons to rural prisons and whether the experiment had been assessed for its impact on overcrowding, on detention conditions and on rehabilitation programmes. He wished to know the number of persons who had been detained in police stations and the average and maximum recorded durations of their detention. It would be useful to have statistics on the representation of minorities in the prison population.

28.Although the Government had stated that migrants were not routinely detained, other sources had claimed otherwise. He would like to know the number or the percentage of migrants who were detained and any alternative measures taken or planned to reduce the use of such detention and ensure it became an exceptional measure, in line with international norms, such as revised deliberation No. 5 on deprivation of liberty of migrants of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

29.He would appreciate information on the reception conditions in the Reception and Identification Centres. The Committee had received reports that tents designed to hold 12 persons were sometimes shared by as many as 100 and that one particular camp had a maximum capacity of 648, yet accommodated more than 3,600 persons. He would like the delegation to comment on those figures and indicate the average length of stay in such centres, which were not designed for long residence periods, and their capacity. He wished to know what measures had been taken to improve the unacceptable conditions, which had been shown by Médecins sans frontières to cause new trauma to individuals who might already have suffered torture and had been described by the European Court of Human Rights as constituting degrading treatment, in violation of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and thus of the Convention against Torture.

30.It would be helpful to have confirmation of reports that unaccompanied child migrants were held in custody for an average of 55–57 days in Reception and Identification Centres, and to learn what measures had been taken to rectify the situation, as such centres were not designed to accommodate children for long periods. He wished to know whether doctors received specific training on age determination techniques and whether they respected the principle of presumption of minority. He wished to know what was being done to address the lack of paediatricians on the islands where many children arrived, as reported by NGOs.

31.He wished to know how many offences were punishable by life imprisonment and the number of persons sentenced to life imprisonment. He would be interested to hear the Government’s view on the “right to hope” endorsed in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, the principle that persons sentenced to life imprisonment must have the right to have a review of the sentence after a reasonable period, to be informed of that possibility as soon as possible after sentencing and to have access to rehabilitation programmes.

32.He was concerned by the lack of a clear legal basis for involuntary placement in a psychiatric institution, as reported by the CPT. The two medical opinions required were often provided by doctors working in the same institution, who rarely disagreed. Placements were not systematically reviewed after the initial six-month period and the rights of patients to be heard personally at such reviews and to be informed of their rights were rarely respected. Patients were held for longer than the prescribed periods and psychiatric establishments were overcrowded and made excessive use of restraints without medical justification. He wished to know what measures had been taken to remedy such problems.

33.The Committee had received information about a new policy to transfer mental health patients to community-based psychosocial rehabilitation units. He would appreciate confirmation of that policy and wished to know whether the necessary safeguards were in place, including training and requirements for the non-governmental and private organizations involved to abide by the Convention and other human rights instruments. There could be no transfer of responsibility from the State to private actors, because involuntary placement constituted a decision of deprivation of liberty taken by the State.

34.Given reports of a monitoring gap for psychiatric establishments, he wished to know whether civil society organizations were able to visit such establishments and whether specific training on psychiatric institutions had been provided to the personnel of the national preventive mechanism. He would appreciate more details on the amendments to the law on involuntary placement that were being drafted. He wondered if the planned integration of Korydallos Psychiatric Hospital for Prisoners into the national health system had been implemented and any initial technical problems resolved. He wished to know how the Government would ensure that the civil society organizations that would offer primary psychiatric care to prisoners had the necessary competence. Had the Government assessed its experiment with remote psychiatric services and whether it worked in practice?

35.He asked whether the Government had implemented the recommendations of the CPT regarding the frequent and widespread use of ill-treatment by police to obtain confessions.

36.Turning to articles 12 and 13 of the Convention, he welcomed the designation of the Ombudsman as national mechanism for the investigation of incidents of ill-treatment committed by law enforcement and detention facility agents, an independent complaints mechanism, as reported in paragraph 29 of the State party’s report (CAT/C/GRC/7) and para. 100 of the common core document (HRI/CORE/GRC/2018). He would appreciate more information on the complaints procedure, and on the statistical data provided in paragraphs 177 to 180 of the periodic report on cases of violence against prisoners and disciplinary procedures, since the figures provided were incomplete and gave the impression that the State party did not always know how many criminal cases of violence or abuse by police officers submitted to the competent prosecutor had been pursued. He asked how many complaints had been made, how many of those cases had been heard, and what decisions had been made in terms of both judicial and disciplinary measures. In order to address the disappearance of 502 Albanian children in the case of the Agia Varvara Foundation, the State party should cooperate with the Albanian authorities to establish an effective investigation mechanism.

37.Recalling the Committee’s general comment No. 3 (2012) on implementation of article 14 by States parties, he would appreciate an update on the development of the programme to support victims of torture and ill-treatment and their dependants. Did the Greek Government intend to make a contribution to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture? Clarification was needed of whether victims of torture and ill-treatment were able to claim compensation, and if so, statistics and details of the relevant legal and administrative decisions should be provided. He requested details of the compensation provided to the victims of human rights violations recognized by the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and asked whether those victims had received a written apology from the chief of the public service involved, and whether measures had been taken to make the related disciplinary proceedings public. An update should be provided on the implementation of general measures recommended in the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, and further details should be given of the practice of setting aside a judgment to ensure proper application of the law. Noting that one third of migrants were also victims of torture or ill-treatment, he asked what measures had been taken to provide rehabilitation support to migrants.

38.With respect to article 15, and in view of the vague wording of article 177 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the prohibition of using illegally acquired evidence in proceedings, he asked whether there were plans to amend the law to specify that evidence acquired through torture could not be invoked in criminal proceedings. Information would be appreciated on the number of cases in which evidence had been dismissed because it had been obtained illegally. It would be helpful to know whether, in practice, judges asked all defendants whether they had been subjected to torture or ill-treatment in detention, and whether persons who alleged torture or ill-treatment were assessed by a legal medical expert in accordance with the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol). Statistics on that matter would be useful.

39.Information should be provided about the legal framework criminalizing cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in line with article 16. Given that the national preventive mechanism considered centres for persons with disabilities to be places of deprivation of liberty, the delegation should explain how such places were monitored and whether the national preventive mechanism and civil society organizations were involved, whether staff received training on the provisions of the Convention and how infractions of its provisions were tackled.

40.Information should be provided on how it was ensured that all body searches of prisoners were reasonable and necessary, and that they were performed using the least intrusive methods available, and whether the new cells constructed at Partas and Corfu prisons complied with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules).

41.A number of persons claimed to have suffered harassment, persecution and detention by police and right-wing extremist groups on account of their activities in helping migrants as humanitarian workers or human rights defenders. He asked what action had been taken to end such harassment, and for information about the cases of Sara Mardini and Sean Binder, Mohammed Abbassi, Salam Aldeen, Manuel Blanco, José Enrique Rodríguez and Julio Latorre, and Panayote Dimitras.

42.An explanation should be provided of the application of Act No. 4491 of 2017 on legal gender recognition with regard to intersex persons. In the light of reported violence against women from minority groups, he asked what measures had been taken to protect those women, particularly migrants and Muslim women. Information should also be provided on the action taken to tackle the reported racial profiling of Roma by the police and the overrepresentation of Roma in prisons. He asked what measures had been taken in response to two decisions by the European Court of Human Rights that had found the detention of children at police stations to violate their right to liberty and expose them to degrading conditions of detention. Data on the number of children detained in such conditions would be useful.

43.In view of the ongoing development of an international manual on non-coercive investigation methods, he asked whether non-coercive investigation methods were used in the State party. Welcoming the State party’s role in the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade, he asked whether it had already begun work on that initiative.

44.Mr. Heller Rouassant asked whether the recently formed Government of the State party envisaged any changes to human rights institutions or the approach to migrant and refugee issues.

45.Ms. Belmir said that she would appreciate more information on reported cases of police violence against detainees from minority groups and minors. She also wished to know whether, in the light of the concerns expressed by the Committee about body search procedures in detention facilities (CAT/C/GRC/CO/5-6, para. 16), action had been taken to introduce non-invasive electronic detection methods.

46.She would also appreciate receiving an explanation of the impact of the practice, described in paragraph 24 of the State party’s report (CAT/C/GRC/7), of allowing adult prisoners to remain in detention facilities for young offenders for work purposes, where they engaged in skilled jobs.

47.Ms. Gaer, echoing the point raised by Ms. Belmir, asked specifically whether electronic methods were used to perform vaginal and anal cavity searches of women and men in prisons.

48.The significant increase in attacks on migrants and Roma involving law enforcement officers gave cause for concern. With reference to the incident of April 2018 in Mytilene, on the island of Lesvos, in which it was reported that a peaceful refugee-led protest had been attacked by locals and many of the refugee protestors arrested, the delegation should explain what efforts had been made to address the incident and claims of ill-treatment by the police, and comment on information indicating that, despite the initiation of prosecutions for those attacks and the mass acquittal of the arrested refugee protestors, no testimonies had been taken, and that two of the persons accused of the attacks had been elected to municipal office.

49.Mr. Hani said that updated information on the outcome of the public consultation on the new draft of the Correctional Code would be appreciated. The delegation should clarify whether appropriately qualified doctors, other than those working for the public health system or the military, could produce legal medical reports for victims of torture, given the provisions of Act No. 4540 of 2018. He asked for more information on the withdrawal of support allowances from persons with disabilities who were being held in prison.

The meeting rose at 12.45 p.m.