ATHENS – Greece’s Ombudman’s office said it received 308 complaints of abuse by law enforcement against young people and other vulnerable groups against 2021 but can’t do anything about it.
The report said those ere based on national, ethnic or racial origin, with a 41 percent increase in complaints against security officers in 2021 compared to 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and limited public movement.
Some 62 percent of all cases, said Kathimerini about the findings, involved physical harm or abuse of personal liberty while 14 percent were said to have had racist motives or discrimination.
The young were the main targets of alleged abused, especially minors, although there was a drop of 8 percent and 2 percent in those categories, but jumps in complaints including unlawful use of a gun, torture, and over gender orientation.
Failure to see these cases through legally violates directives set by the European Court of Human Rights, said the Ombudsman, who can investigate and forward cases to other authorities with greater jurisdiction.
The report also received 21 reports of alleged pushbacks of refugees and said that victims weren’t properly interviewed and photos or other evidence went missing, the New Democracy government denying any incidents occurred.
The independent authority, which also operates as the National Authority for the Investigation of Arbitrary Abuse Cases for 2021, noted that the majority of these incidents was not thoroughly followed through by authorities, the paper said.
Most of the disciplinary incidents were recommended to be filed away, while in cases where the Ombudsman recommended further sanctions, penalties proposed for police officers were trivial, indicating near-impunity.
Orders to conduct internal disciplinary investigations following the reported incidents of abuse were forwarded to police and the Hellenic Coast Guard as well as the European Union border patrol Frontex and Greece’s highest administrative court, the Council of State.
The Ombudsman’s office was established in 1998 with the charge to safeguard and promote children’s rights, deal with discrimination based on race, ethnicity, disability, age or sexual orientation and promote equal opportunities.