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Human Rights

Complaint filed with United Nations over torture of asylum seeker in Greece

The woman says she suffered abuse and witnessed the beating of children and a pregnant woman.

ACTIVISTS HAVE FILED a UN complaint on behalf of an Iranian asylum seeker who alleged she was tortured and beaten during several detentions in Greece before being repeatedly deported to Turkey.

Parvin A, the asylum seeker who now lives in Germany, alleged that not only did she suffer abuse but that she witnessed the beating of children and a pregnant woman during six detentions in Greece.

The asylum seeker spoke in a pre-recorded video during an online news conference with the ECCHR, which said it filed a complaint on her behalf with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors implementation of the international covenant on civil and political rights by member states.

Hanaa Hakiki, a senior legal advisor at ECCHR, told the news conference monitored in Athens that Parvin A seeks recourse for arbitrary detention in “inhuman” conditions, mistreatment and summary expulsion from Greece.

ECCHR, a Berlin-based lawyers’ activist group, said she had managed to sneak out rare images and footage of alleged abuse on her cellphone ahead of three of her six deportations to Turkey.

“We have never seen such footage from inside border guard stations before,” said Stefanos Levidis, a researcher at investigative site Forensic Architecture who spoke at the press conference.

Parvin A, the asylum seeker, said she had been “handcuffed, beaten, shot at, tear-gassed, tortured and nearly killed” during six expulsions from Greece to Turkey between February and June 2020.

She said she left Iran over alleged gender-based persecution, which would qualify her for asylum in European or other countries.

She alleged she also witnessed beatings of other asylum seekers — including that of children and a pregnant woman — and was detained in dirty border station cells and an airless container.

Border guards had smashed the asylum seekers’ cellphones and seized their food and clothing, she alleged.

NGOs in Greece have repeatedly decried the alleged mistreatment of migrants and refugees in camps and at the European Union country’s borders, which Greece’s government steadfastly denies.

“Death and torture at the borders of Europe have become an acceptable alternative to migration,” Nils Muiznieks, Europe director of Amnesty International said Wednesday, noting that the present political climate in Europe was “more forgiving” to such rights violations.

© AFP 2022

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