Blossom Hill Fellow Michael Kientzle, who runs Mobile Info Team (MIT) in Greece, just released his long-awaited report — Prison for Papers: Last Resort Measures as Standard Procedure.
After receiving many inquiries consistently highlighting the challenges people face in detention, MIT undertook research to investigate access to asylum, legal procedures and living conditions in detention centers in Greece. In the research, carried out over the course of last year, MIT collected 50 testimonies and spoke with several different organizations and lawyers working with detained people in Greece.
Given that detention of asylum seekers or undocumented people is a huge interference with their right to freedom, European law states that detention should only be used as a measure of last resort. However, the report finds that detention for these groups is used systematically in Greece and has become more and more normalized in recent years. It also highlights a critical lack of information and understanding regarding detainees’ rights in detention, with detained people facing significant difficulties accessing legal aid to challenge their detention decision.
In addition, many of the testimonies stress the difficult living conditions of people detained in Greece, ranging from very poor hygienic conditions inside the centers, a lack of medical and psychological support, and the deterioration of mental health due to unsuitable living conditions.
The report concludes with a set of recommendations for the Greek government and the European Commission, including reducing the use of detention to an absolute minimum, improving access to information in detention, improving living conditions for those detained, and providing access to medical care and psychological support. The report aims to shed light on the realities that people face in detention and will be used to advocate for changes across Greece and on a European level.
You can find a summary of the report in English, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Sorani, French, and Greek here: https://www.mobileinfoteam.org/detention-translated
You can find a link to the whole report in English here: https://www.mobileinfoteam.org/detention