NEWS

Rights group says police tortured Afghan migrants

ATHENS – Greek police allegedly tortured dozens of Afghan immigrants, subjecting them to brutal beatings, mock executions and photographing them naked during interrogation, a Greek human rights group claimed yesterday. The government promised a full inquiry. Maria Piniou-Kalli, medical director of the Medical Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims in Athens, likened the alleged abuse to the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of American interrogators in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib Prison. The alleged beatings occurred last week in holding cells at the downtown Aghios Pandeleimonas police precinct after an Afghan man escaped from custody and dozens of Afghan asylum-seekers were detained in an attempt to gather information on his whereabouts. Kalli said doctors at the rehabilitation center determined that more than 40 people they saw had suffered bruising, while one man had a concussion. She offered photographs of the medical examination and accounts from the alleged abuse victims as evidence, and said at least four plainclothes officers took part in the beatings, while two more were present in the room. «From the clinical results it’s clear the beatings amount to torture,» she said. «The most humiliating thing was that the officers photographed the victims during the torture sessions at the police station.» Greater Athens Police Chief Maj. Gen. Vassilis Tsiatouras, ordered an investigation into the allegations. Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said he was saddened by the report, and promised that «the guilty parties will be found and punished.» The medical center in Athens is a member of the Copenhagen-based International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims which has examined and treated thousands of torture victims mainly from Africa and the Middle East. Thousands of immigrants from Asia, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe enter European Union member Greece illegally each year.