The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday that Greece had subjected five unaccompanied migrant minors to inhuman and degrading treatment, and violated their right to liberty and security.
The youngsters, who were Afghan nationals, entered Greece as unaccompanied migrant minors in 2016, when they were between 14 and 17 years of age. They alleged that they had fled Afghanistan because they feared for their lives as members of the Ismaili religious minority.
In February 2016 they were apprehended by the police and ordered to leave the country within a month.
Some of them attempted to cross the border between Greece and North Macedonia but were stopped by the border guards and all eventually ended up in police stations, under “protective custody.”
They all applied for asylum in March 2016 and two of them were eventually granted protection in October 2016 and January 2017.
ECHR found that the conditions of detention to which three of the applicants had been subjected in various police stations amounted to degrading treatment, which violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It also found that the Greek government had not explained why the authorities had first placed these three applicants in police stations, in degrading conditions of detention, rather than in alternative temporary accommodation.
“The applicants’ detention had therefore not been lawful and there had been a violation of Article 5 and 1 of the Convention,” it said.
The ECHR also said Greece must pay 4,000 euros to one applicant and 6,000 euros each to the other four applicants for non-pecuniary damage, and another 1,500 euros to the applicants jointly for costs and expenses.