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Athens: Appalling abuse of 5 refugee children by policemen, Greek Police ordered investigation

The appalling case of abuse of several refugee children by Greek police has been denounced in social media by several members of solidarity movement. According to the reports, Greek police allegedly detained and abused 5 refugee children, aged 9-14.

The incident occurred on Tuesday, September 27th 2016, at 12 o clock noon, when the refugee children together with two companions (aged 20-22) from the solidarity movement were walking in downtown Athens in order to participate in a theater play.

The police stopped the group, sized plastic toy-guns which were to be used in the play, their mobile phones and one laptop. Police took the children to the police station in Omonoia square and allegedly abused the minors, forcing them to strip, making racist and sexual comments and denying them access to their parents.

Here is the story in English by Electra Leda Koutra on Facebook

“On September 27 2016, around noon, police stopped 5 syrian children, aged 9-14, escorted by 2 adults, who were walking from the school squat where they reside, in the center of Athens, to a cultural space nearby, in order to present a theatrical play concerning their life in Syria.
They were holding their costumes in a plastic bag -the costume comprised of uniforms and toy plastic guns, the ones you buy in the supermarket.
4 policemen stopped them on the street, immobilized them and called for reinforcement, reportedly for having located “an armed group”. Despite the obvious, by a simple look, unfoundedness (if not ridicule) of this hypothesis, dozens of policemen came and took all of them to the police station.
The children were taken to a secluded room by 2 policemen, where they were asked to undress completely. When 2 of them refused to remove their underwear, police exercised physical violence on them, after which the one succumbed and removed it, while the other continued to object and, as a result, had his underwear forcibly removed. A 3rd child also suffered physical violence, was made to bend while naked and 4 were asked to turn around themselves while naked more than once, so that the policemen would have the chance to have a good presentation and look of their child bodies and genitals.
They were shouted at including words like “fuck” and “malaka” (which means “asshole” or, litterally, “the one who masturbates”, in Greek).
The last child in the row started crying and asking for his mother. The others advised him to undress, in order to not get beaten too. After that, they were asked to dress and were subsequently photographed by use of a policeman’s cellphone, as a group and each one separately.
The children’s cell phones and belongings were de facto confiscated, outside the context of any formal procedure.
They remained in a state of deprivation of freedom for more than 6 hours, amongst adult drug users and criminal adductees. As for water, they were advised, when they begged for it, to go drink directly from the police station’s toilet which was impossible to approach because of the filth and odor. They were not allowed to use their cellphones for calling their parents.

After they were all released, volunteers started asking of ways to report this. They were turned away. Approximately at 8pm, the parents and the children returned to the police station escorted by a lawyer demanding to be allowed to lodge a lawsuit. They were asked to repeatedly tell their story to different policemen, out of a formal context, besides the lawyer’s complaints.

When a deposition finally started being given, some 2 hours later, perpetual phonecalls, arrival and presence of even the head of security of the area led to the testimony being stopped in the middle of its deposition, and the parents and children were referred to a different service (from the police station to the security station). After being made to wait there for another 2 hours for the lawsuit-deposition to start, they were informed that the Childrens’ Department of the Central Police Directorate had decided to take over this case, so the child whose deposition had been interrupted should be moved to another area (GADA).

There, the child whose deposition was halted, was led to a room with two policemen and an interpreter whose information was not made known to the parent and the lawyer, the latter being asked to strictly wait outside. The child entered that room at 1.23 am of the 28th September and came out exhausted and pale 3 hours later, during which the parent and the lawyer could not have contact with him, besides their requests.

Afterwards, the parent was asked to give a statement, besides the complaints that the child was traumatized and worn out and they would have to go immediattely. The child (and his legal counselor and parent) were refused information on the content of the child’s deposition. The lawyer was also refused the request that the child has an urgent assessment by a child psychologist before the deposition, so that it is assessed whether he can endure staying alone with policemen, just hours after having been victimized so intensely.

At some point, more policemen entered the area where the child was. We asked who they were and why all these officers are allowed in, and we got the answer that “they work here”.

It turned out that the child was confronted, face to face, with the perpetrator of the hedious crimes he had just suffered…” (more…)

The children’s parents filed lawsuits against the policemen, the solidarity movement called for a protest rally at 6 pm on Friday, outside the Athens University.

So far there has been no official statement by the Greek police or the Ministry for Citizens’ protection.

According to news website TheToc.gr Greek police has ordered an internal investigation.

Unofficially, the police admits the incident but rejects the abuse and racist claims.

“Police sources downgrade the denouncements saying that police went on alert due to the toy-guns and the costumes but there was no use of violence, neither racist or sexual comments.” TheToc.gr 

The case has been uploaded on websites of several newspapers here and here.

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3 comments

  1. If anyone had any doubts about the Thrid World mentality of the Greek police and the Ministry for Citizens Abuse, then this should put paid to their doubts. The Greek State has had 35 years of EU memebership to learn how to behave to human beings, and especially children, and has failed. This is what you would expect and get in Turkey. Yet nothing ever changes, police are rarely prosecuted, and no government minister ever resigns in humiliation. Third World is the polite way of describing it: backward and ignorant peasants who abuse their power, and are paid for doing so, is another.

    • Well said the Greek police are ignorant and arrogant and due to a lack of accountability will never lose their 19th century mindsets.

  2. Horrible. This is sadism. They must have felt really great and powerfull abusing children like that. It is perverse, really.
    When there is no oversight and accountability then state institutions create a organizational culture of impunity.