Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
Mr. Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Enlargement
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)
Honorable EU officials,
Last week, Greek media broadcast a video of two teenagers in an Athens police station being physically and verbally abused by Greek police officers. The teenagers (both immigrants, one of them Albanian) were forced to slap each other violently under the urges and orders of the officer. This abominable video is but a recent and graphic example of the systematic discrimination Albanian citizens and other immigrants suffer in Greece, a member nation of the EU.
Many other Albanian immigrants, including Gentian Çeleniku (age 20), Bledar Qoshku (age 23), Ramiz Saliaj (age 21), Vullnet Bytyçi (age 18) and Luan Bërdëllima (age 20) have been killed and/or tortured by Greek authorities in the last few years. We think it is time that European institutions raised concerns against these degrading and inhuman acts performed by Greek authorities upon defenseless individuals.
We believe these practices to be unacceptable for a member state of the EU, that as such, has pledged to abide by the European Convention of Human Rights. The Preamble of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe clearly declares “the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law” as core values of the Union. Yet, these values are continuously violated in Greece.
Due to the appalling inhumanity of these practices and as a result of the wide concern these images have provoked in our community, we ask of you to consider the following:
1. Publicly denounce the aforementioned video and file an official complaint with the Greek government, thus condemning the discrimination and abuse of Albanians and other immigrants by Greek institutions
2. Engage the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to lead an inquiry into the mistreatment of Albanian immigrants in Greece over the past two decades
3. Work with the Greek government in order to ensure that their public policy agenda include a genuine effort to curb and eventually eliminate institutionalized violence against foreigners in Greece