Eight guards from Nigrita Prison in northern Greece charged in connection with the deadly torture of an Albanian inmate were on Saturday given until Tuesday to prepare their defense.
Seven more guards are expected to testify before Serres magistrate Georgia Toutountzi in the coming days. The list does not include the prison warden, who faces misdemeanor charges for harboring a criminal.
Ilie Kareli, 42, died in solitary confinement on March 27 several hours after being transferred to Nigrita from Malandrino jail in central Greece, where he had stabbed a prison guard to death after being refused furlough to visit his critically ill mother.
A police internal affairs investigation has shed more light on the circumstances that led to the convict’s death. Eight prison staff at Nigrita, investigators found, tortured Kareli, punching, kicking and hitting him with a whip on various parts of his body inside the facility’s processing area. The victim was reportedly doused with water to increase his pain sensitivity. Investigators claim to have identified the person who caused the fatal injury on Kareli’s chest.
The police report contains incriminating evidence against the Nigrita jail warden, suggesting that while the 47-year-old told his second-in-command to protect the Albanian inmate, he failed to take all necessary measures to avert torture. During police examination, he reportedly tried to cover up facts.
“Let’s see who of you will admit to hitting him. With what you are doing they’re going to lock us up,” an investigator quoted the prison warden as telling his staff based on CCTV footage.
Another inmate was called in to clean up the room after Kareli was sent to his cell, but police were able to find at least 25 traces of blood on the floor and walls.
Recent developments have stirred tension in prisons across the country with, mostly Albanian, inmates threatening to retaliate over Kareli’s death. A misspelled note left in a complaint box of an unspecified facility warned: “Albanian killed Greek, Greek killed Albanian, now Albanian kill many.”