[JURIST] Greek police exhibit a pattern of using excessive force and violence against demonstrators and administrative detainees, including migrants, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF] Tuesday. AI criticized Greek authorities for referring to instances of police violence as “isolated incidents” and called on the government to take further steps to ensure police accountability for unnecessary violence. The report expressed concern about the ability of police to investigate legitimate claims of abuse by law enforcement in an impartial and effective manner. AI called on Greece to recognize and address the pattern of abuse among its law enforcement officers:
Since this report was concluded in April 2012, Amnesty International has received further allegations of human rights violations by law enforcement officials. These human rights violations are not just “isolated incidents” and should not continue to be treated as such, but should be rather seen as a pattern of abuses. Amnesty International considers that it is high time for the Greek authorities to acknowledge the extent of violations by their law enforcement officials and take measures to address the systemic problems which contribute to such abuses. Until these problems are tackled—and they include protracted criminal investigations and trials, disciplinary inquiries and criminal investigations which are lacking in independence and thoroughness, and the lack of a truly effective and independent police complaints mechanism—impunity will continue to prevail and the vicious circle of such abuses will not be broken.
The report encouraged Greek authorities to create a better system of police communication with organizers of demonstrations, and to improve the system of filing complaints against officers.
Police abuse is a subject of international concern. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) alleging that they violated the rights of protesters. The lawsuit came a week after the ACLU released a report alleging widespread abuses [JURIST report] by the PRPD. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported [JURIST report] in May that China’s chengguan, a para-police organization charged with enforcing non-criminal administrative regulations, is abusing its power. In April HRW alleged that Bahrain’s police officers regularly abuse minor detainees [JURIST report] before transporting them to police stations. Last October the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that prisoners in some Afghan-run detention facilities had been beaten and tortured [JURIST report]. In June 2011 HRW reported that Iraqi police forces had been beating and illegally detaining protesters [JURIST report].