13 February 2015

Greece’s new Deputy Minister for Public Order, Giannis Panousis, announced that Greece is going to stop detaining migrants indefinitely.

A year ago the Greek government introduced the policy of detaining irregular migrants subjected to return procedures beyond the 18-month limit set by the EU Returns Directive if the individuals were deemed not to be cooperating with the execution of the return order.

The Greek Council for Refugees and Amnesty International have welcomed the announcement and urged the Greek government to implement this decision immediately.

The organisations further called the government to improve detention conditions and to revise the policy of indiscriminately and systematically detaining irregular migrants and persons applying for asylum while in detention.

Over the past year, the Greek Council for Refugees, with the support of Amnesty International, offered legal assistance to ten migrants who had been subject to indefinite detention, to challenge the lawfulness of their detention after being held for 18 months. In all ten cases, the competent judge found that the extended detention breached the existing Greek legislation.


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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 February 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.