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Rights group urges Greece to investigate alleged police abuses in wake of riots

[JURIST] Greek authorities are not doing enough to ensure that the nation's police respect human rights, according to a Monday briefing [text, PDF; press release] from Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urging the government to investigate and address "long-standing problems of policing." AI said allegations of human-rights abuses, including torture, the use of excessive force, arbitrary detentions, and denial of prompt legal assistance, continue to be lodged against Greek police. AI's briefing sets forth recommendations for helping Greece comply with its obligations under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [text, PDF] and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text]. The recommendations include establishing an independent commission to investigate and publish a report about the December 2008 shooting death of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos [BBC report] and the protests that ensued; implementing measures to prevent police from using excessive force when responding to demonstrations; and investigating patterns of alleged abuses that have diminished public confidence in policing. Greece has not responded to the AI briefing.

The Greek government said earlier this month that it would revamp its police force [JURIST report] in light of December demonstrations and riots [BBC backgrounder] that occurred in response to Grigoropoulos' death. An Athens police officer shot and killed Grigoropoulos after he and other youths allegedly threw stones at a police car. Police said Grigoropoulos was shot as he tried to hurl an explosive at officers. Demonstrations and riots protesting the shooting took place for weeks after Grigoropoulos' death. The officer who shot Grigoropoulos was suspended and charged with manslaughter. The Greek police have been accused of being both ineffective and unnecessarily violent [JURIST op-ed] in their response to the protests.

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