Greece: Court makes Chios island human rights ruling

Migrants detained on the Greek island of Chios were unable to appeal against decisions ordering their expulsion, human rights judges confirmed today.

In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of O.S.A. and others v. Greece (application no. 39065/16) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of detention) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and

no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment).

As Just satisfaction (Article 41), the court held that Greece was to pay the applicants, four  Afghan nationals , 650 euros (EUR) each in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 1,000 jointly in respect of costs and expenses.

The case concerned the applicants’ conditions of detention in the Vial centre on the island of Chios, and the issues of the lawfulness of their detention, the courts’ review of their case, and the information provided to them.

The European court considered that, in view of the circumstances, the applicants had not had access to remedies by which to challenge the decisions ordering their expulsion and the extension of their detention.

The applicants understood only Farsi and they had had no lawyers to assist them.

The documents issued to them by the authorities had been written in Greek and had not specified which administrative court had jurisdiction.

As in the case of J.R. and Others v. Greece (no. 22696/16), the Court held that the applicants’ detention had nevertheless been lawful and that the threshold of seriousness for it to be characterised as inhuman or degrading treatment had not been attained.


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