Grekland: "TV4:s nyhetsinslag fullständigt osant"

Sourze bad den grekiska ambassaden kommentera TV4 Nyheternas inslag förra veckan om vanvård av asylsökande som skickas tillbaka från Sverige till Grekland. Sourze publicerar här ambassadens brev till TV4 liksom Greklands officella uttalande i frågan.

TV4 Nyheterna
Chefredaktör Kajsa Ericson
Att Bo Holmström and Jad Saliba

Concerning your channel’s recent criticism against Greece for “mistreatment and tortures of people applying for asylum by the Greek Police authorities", let me disprove it as totally untrue.

As a result of the Freedom of Press in Greece, the incident as presented to the video of 23.11.2007, 19.00 tv4-Nyheterna came up first on Greek television, thanks to the efforts of Greek journalists to assist the Greek government to isolate and punish a few existing cases of corruption and power abuse.

In this framework, the incident that took place in the Omonoia Police Department Center of Athens on 24-06-2006 has been condemned by the Greek government as completely unacceptable for it directly offends our culture and brutally offends the prestige of the police.

Besides, it does not concern the «torture and mistreatment of people applying for asylum» as presented in your reportage, but violators of the Greek Penal Code, having been arrested for the theft of the purse of a woman.

Additionally, the view, supported in your reportage it is not true. That, despite the fact that responsible politicians were forced to promise immediate internal investigation of the case in front of the catalytic and irrefutable proof of the picture, however, “nothing has been heard ever since" .

The truth is that the culpable police officers were immediately punished. And as far as the legal aspect of this case is concerned, the Public prosecutor has already initiated the appropriate proceedings.

Finally, after that comment and in view of the specific incident in the same reportage, the treatment of illegal immigrants in our country is framed by negative comments and the question is raised, whether or not Sweden should send asylum seekers back to Greece, since they run the risk of “ ill-treatment" or even “abuse" by the Police.

The truth is that Greece treats all detainees with an absolute respect of their rights, as emanating from the Constitution and the law. Every form of abuse of authority is treated with the maximum severity so that not the slightest shadow will be cast over the manner of operation of the police force.

Thus, I strongly believe that your respectful channel will act accordingly, so as to restore the truth for the sake of objectivity of information that it offers to its audience,

Please find attached the more detailed official answer of the Greek Secretary General for Public Order

Vithleem Kochliaridou
The press counselor of the Greek embassy in Sweden


Information Report

The Swedish TV4 channel presented at its central broadcast on the 23 - 11 - 2007 as first piece of news, a Bo Holmtrom’s report from Greece about the ill - treatment and the tortures, people applying for asylum in our country often suffer.

At the beginning of the report the entrance of the police station in Omonoia is presented, while the reporter, commenting on the pictures - also were shown by the Greek television - referring to the detainees’ ill - treatment from policemen at the particular department, supported the view that despite the fact that responsible politicians were forced to promise immediate internal investigation of the case in front of the catalytic and irrefutable proof of the picture, however, “nothing has been heard ever since". After that comment and in view of the specific incident, the immigrants treatment in our country is framed by negative comments and the question is raised, whether or not Sweden should send refugees back to Greece, since they run the risk of going through rough treatment or even abused by the Police.

Greece and the Hellenic Police as guarantor of order, legitimacy and defense of individual and social human rights prove daily their sensitivity and their humanism by acting accordingly. As a result, they can not be judged in general and almost uncritical by few undoubtedly reprehensible and unacceptable incidents and by the inane and morally as well criminally individually punishable behaviors of a few individuals.

Specifically in relation to the Omonoia Police Station the following should be pointed out :
Ø On the 16 - 6 - 2007 the Security Directorate of Attica transmitted to the Internal Affaires’ Division of the Hellenic Police two sworn depositions, one C.D as well as other visual material video’s photographs e.t.c, in which a Police Sergeant appears to mistreat at the Omonoia Police Station two individuals a national and a foreigner, who were adduced at this Service by three Border Guards during the night hours of the 24 - 6 - 2006, regarded as perpetrators of an attempt of snatching a bag from a passing individual at the cross section of Piraeus and Socrates streets in Omonoia.
Ø The Division’s Internal Affairs’ supervisor Public Prosecutor took immediately into account the earlier mentioned material and ordered the holding of Preliminary Inquiry, so that penal legal offences are searched out. The Hellenic Police on the other hand implemented all the expected disciplinary actions and the administrative measures for this case.
In particular:
· The next day, 17 - 6 - 2007, the Head of the Staff of the Hellenic Police headquarters ordered an investigation to be held by the General Police Division of Attica in order to further explore the case from the disciplinary point of view and he also decided to lay the Police Sergeant and two from the earlier mentioned Border Guards on half pay for 18 months and 1 year respectively. Moreover with another decision of the Police Assistant Chief, the Administrator of the above Service was laid on half pay for 1 year.
· On the 19 - 6 - 2007, the Head of the Staff decided also to lay on half pay for 1 year one more policeman Police Constable from the Omonoia Police Station, who was present during the incident.
· The investigation has already been completed, it has been submitted to the General Police Division of Attica and the Police Sergeant’s, the Police Constable’s and the 2 Border Guards’ committal to the First Instance Disciplinary Council of the Police with the questions of the policemen’s discharge and the Border Guards’ dismissal has been decided.

The hearing of the case by the First Instance Counsil, which was fixed for 14-11-2007, was postponed due to the absence of the advocates and is expected to be held soon.

In regards to the criminal part of the case, a relevant document, issued by the Public Prosecutor’s office of Athens, indicates that the persons involved in the incident were charged on the basis of the following actions: torture in common and concurrence, simple complicity in this act, protection of a criminal and dereliction of duty, while the case will be sent to the competent examining judge for the judicial inquiry.

At the same time, a warrant has been issued and executed against the Sergeant who, since 10-7-2007, is detained at the Korydallos prison.

It should be noted, also, that the finding of the held investigation was sent, by the General Police Directorate of Attica, to the Public Prosecutor’s office of Athens.

In conclusion, and in relation to the aforementioned regarding the ill-treatment against the two 2 citizens at the Omonoia’s Police Station, the following can be stated:

· The Hellenic Police and the Judicial Authorities reacted immediately after they were informed on the incident.
· The Hellenic Police has already completed the main part of the disciplinary proceedings with the hearing of the case only remaining at the competent Disciplinary Counsil.
· Administrative sanctions were immediately imposed against the involved persons and the charges brought against them provide the most severe disciplinary sentence: dismissal from the Hellenic Police.
· The will of the state is clear and not treated, as it is expressed through the actions of the statutory administrative an judicial bodies, for direct and effective punishment of acts concerning ill-treatment and cruel behaviour against citizens, irrespective of nationality, descent, country or origin and religion.

The case of the Omonoia Police Station is undoubtly a reprehensible incident. It is an incident incompatible with the image of the Hellenic Police which has indicated many examples of solidarity, humanism and love to the man. Therefore, it is unfair this incident, for which there is already direct and substantial administrative and penal intervention, to be shown off by the Media as an example of a general bad behaviour of the Greek Police Officer and to form a repulsive, unacceptable and fictitious picture for the Police Force and the country in general.

Hellenic Police orientation, the Hellenic state and the Hellenic society is deeply and firmly humanistic. This is confirmed by our history and the thousands of economical immigrants who have found safety, work, care and warmth in our country.

The few incidents occurred, unfortunately -and not only in Greece- must not characterize a Public Organization or a country which fights daily in order to secure human integrity, existence and security of the citizens within a sensitive European geographical area.

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Publicerad: 06 dec 2007 13:13


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