Police accused of rights violations

A new report by Amnesty International accuses the Greek police of serious human rights violations and calls on the government to set up a committee to investigate allegations of excessive use of force against demonstrators and detainees. In the report, made public yesterday, the rights watchdog said it had received «mounting allegations of (rights) violations» since the police killing of a teenager by an officer in the central Athens district of Exarchia in December. The report described the police’s response to the unrest «as the culmination of an entrenched pattern of serious human rights violations by law enforcement officials.» It refers to specific incidents of alleged abuse during the December riots and notes that the number of arrests of foreign nationals was disproportionately large. Amnesty said it had informed Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos of a number of cases in which police officers are alleged to have arbitrarily arrested and mistreated peaceful demonstrators. One of the incidents cited is from January 9 when several lawyers were arrested and reportedly mistreated during a demonstration on central Asclepiou Street. «Time and again police officers in Greece have been accused of using excessive force against demonstrators or denying them their rights when in detention,» said Nicola Duckworth, the group’s program director for Europe and Central Asia. Amnesty proposed that the Greek government «launch a wide-ranging commission of inquiry» to investigate allegations of abuse and to review police training and the use of firearms by officers. «The people of Greece have the right to proper policing in accordance with the government’s national and international obligations,» Duckworth said in the report.

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