European Court of Human Rights finds insufficent evidence of degrading treatment of three Afghans in detention in Chios, Greece

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The ECHR: Detention of three Afghan nationals in Vial migrant centre in Greece (Press release, pdf) found that only one of four complaints could be upheld - Article 5 § 2 (right to be informed promptly of the reasons for arrest).

It did not uphold the complaint of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) on the following grounds:

"The Court noted that the facts in question occurred at the time of an exceptional and sharp increase in migratory flows in Greece, which had created organisational, logistical and structural difficulties. It reiterated that, in view of the absolute nature of Article 3, the factors associated with an increasing influx of migrants could not absolve States of their obligations to ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty were held in conditions compatible with respect for human dignity. It observed that several NGOs had visited the centre and confirmed some of the applicants’ allegations concerning its general condition.

The Court found that the CPT had not been particularly critical of the conditions prevailing in the centre, particularly as regards the aspects that could have concerned the applicants’ situation. Its criticisms had focused mainly on medical care, the lack of adequate information and legal assistance and the poor quality of drinking water and food. It was apparent from the file that those problems were not such as to affect the applicants excessively in terms of Article 3 of the Convention. The Court also noted that the applicants’ detention had been short, namely thirty days. It therefore considered that the threshold of severity required for their detention to be characterised as inhuman or degrading treatment had not been reached. There had not, therefore, been a violation of Article 3."

See: Full-text of judgment (French, link)

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