Jails improve, police cells still ‘inhuman’

Conditions in a number of police holding cells in Greece are inhuman, according to the annual report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, a Council of Europe body. But it found conditions in Greece’s prisons had improved. During inspections of 16 prisons and police cells in November 1999, the committee found that the worst conditions were in the Feres police station near the Evros border with Turkey, where illegal immigrants were detained in what was described as a human garbage dump. The report, released yesterday, called the facility filthy. The cells had minimal natural light and the artificial lighting was inadequate. The only furnishings were concrete platforms covered with torn mattresses. Exposed electric wires hung from the walls. Floors were flooded from overflowing toilets. Serious problems, including overcrowding, were also found at the Athens General Police Directorate. While conditions in prisons had generally improved, the committee urged that a program to build nine new prisons should not be delayed.

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