NEWS

Inmates’ rights groups reports use of violence in Greek prisons by special police officers

A spokeswoman for Greek rights groups Initiative for Inmates’ Rights on Wednesday condemned the “barbarism and authoritarianism” displayed by members of the country’s special police force (EKAM) who have allegedly been conducting raids on prisons around the country following the violent escape of 11 convicts in March from a facility in Trikala, central Greece. Four of the escapees are meanwhile believed to have taken part in a shootout with police earlier this month that resulted in the death of a motorist in Corinth.

Speaking on Alpha Radio, Ioanna Drosou reiterated claims by the rights group that EKAM officers had beaten and used stun guns on inmates in prisons in Trikala, Malandrino, Ioannena, Domokos, Korydallos and Grevena, also subjecting them to humiliation.

“Over the past few weeks, EKAM and guards have conducted late-night investigations in at least 10 prisons around the country, and according to testimonies told inmates that they were being subjected to humiliating searches on the orders of the minister of justice,” Drosou said, referring to Antonis Roupakiotis.

The spokeswoman claimed that her group had collected dozens of testimonies that “EKAM officers entered inmates’ cells, forced them to strip naked, beat them and even shocked them, saying that they were acting on the orders of Mr Roupakiotis.”

According to the Initiative for Inmates’ Rights, the latest raid was conducted at Grevena Prison in northern Greece on Saturday. Drosou claimed that EKAM officers wearing hoods to hide their identities pulled inmates out of their cells, beat them with police batons and shocked them with stun guns, before forcing them to strip and crawl on all fours in the prison exercise area. The officers allegedly raided inmates’ cells while they were being held in the gymnasium in search of contraband.

The Public Order Ministry, which has jurisdiction over the EKAM force, denied the allegations, though Roupakiotis has ordered an emergency investigation into the claims.