Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (hereafter the ECHR) recognizes the absolute right not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and thus enshrines one of the fundamental values of democratic societies. Article 13 establishes the right of anyone whose rights under the ECHR have been violated to have access to an effective remedy before national authorities, and imposes an obligation on the State to provide appropriate remedies for this purpose;
In February 2022, the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (hereafter ECtHR) was issued in the case of Tousios v. Greece (appeal no. 36296/19), judging that Greece had violated articles 3 and 13 of the ECHR in this case. See the decision as posted in the HUDOC database here and the ECtHR press release here.
The case concerns the detention conditions at the Thessaloniki Security Department where the appellant was held following his arrest, from 24-1-2019 to 7-2-2019. During this time he shared a cell with 10-15 other prisoners whilst only three concrete beds were available and they didn’t even have a place to sit. Furthermore prisoners suffering from hepatitis were held with the general population, endangering the other prisoners. In general the premises were overcrowded, the sanitary conditions were poor, the cells were not cleaned, there was no natural lighting or adequate ventilation and the food was of poor quality.
They came to the conclusion that in this particular case there was a violation of Article 3 of the ECHR, taking into account the conditions of the applicant’s detention at the facilities of the Thessaloniki Security Department, the duration of his detention and the findings of the CPT regarding the facilities in question.
The applicant also claimed that he had no effective legal remedy available to him to complain about the conditions of his detention in the above facilities. The ECtHR, after noting that it has already ruled in similar cases that article 105 of the Civil Code (i.e. the article on the basis of which someone can claim compensation from the state) cannot be considered as an effective remedy, decided that there was a violation of Article 13 of the Convention in conjunction with Article 3.
Respect for fundamental rights is one of the key components of a state that is governed by the rule of law. The fundamental rights that every citizen should enjoy are enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. It is a primary and indisputable obligation of the state to respect these rights.
In this particular case, however, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that there was a violation of: a) Article 3 of the ECHR, as the applicant was detained for 15 days at the premises of the Thessaloniki Security Department (i.e. a police station), where the conditions of detention had been assessed by the CPT as extremely bad and (b) of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3, as there was no legal remedy available to the applicant to enable him to complain about the conditions of his detention.
Bank Account number: 1100 0232 0016 560
IBAN: GR56 0140 1100 1100 0232 0016 560
In a time where the very foundations of democracy are gradually being eroded by the rise of extreme nationalism, alt-right movements, the spread of disinformation and corporate capture, the efforts of organisations such as Vouliwatch are more relevant than ever.
We rely on the generosity of each and every one of you to continue with our efforts for more transparency and accounta
By financially supporting Vouliwatch you support our litigation strategy, our campaigns for transparency and accountability in the political system, the development of new civic tech tools, our research projects and last but not least our impartial and accurate