The European Court of Human Rights found that the detention conditions endured by a Bangladeshi national, Mr Toiabali MD, at the aliens’ police department in Thessaloniki amounted to a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment. The Court also found the Greek authorities to be in violation of the right to a speedy review of the lawfulness of detention. In its ruling, the Court did not find that the right to liberty and security was violated.  

On 12 May 2009, the applicant was arrested by the Greek police and ordered to leave the country, as he was irregularly present in Greece and did not have the required travel documents. Mr MD did not leave the Greek territory and was subsequently re-arrested by the Greek police and detained in the aliens’ police department in Thessaloniki between 4 January and 15 March 2011. In the submissions to the Court, Mr MD complained about the overcrowding of the centre, lack of possibilities to undertake physical activity, not receiving enough food, having to share one toilet with other 10 people and sleeping on a dirty mattress on the floor. In line with its precedent and recent rulings, the Court found that there was enough evidence to conclude that the detention conditions resulted in degrading treatment, and therefore in a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights.

This is the latest of a long series of rulings delivered by the ECtHR repeatedly condemning the inhuman and degrading conditions at detention centres in Greece. The Court came to similar conclusions in the cases of H.H. c. GreeceF.H. v. Greece and Tatishvili v. Greece.


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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 14 November 2014. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.