ATHENS – Greek state officials delivered shocking reports on the treatment of immigrant children held in jails, at a meeting last Friday of the Committee for Equality, Youth and Human Rights of the Vouli (Greek parliament).
The General Secretary of the Justice Ministry Y. Sourlas stated that, ‘Today there are 28 children in jails imprisoned from five to 15 years because they were convicted as leaders in illegal immigrants trafficking.’
The head of the Aliens Department of the Greek Police, General E. Katriadakis, said that in 2012, 5,840 immigrant children were arrested in Greece and that 155 children are now imprisoned in police stations.
In the last year, there have been many demonstrations of Greek workers and youth outside police stations demanding the release of all ‘illegal immigrants’ who are held in appalling, overcrowded conditions.
In the summer of 2012, Greek police launched a massive military-style operation titled ‘Xenios Zeus’ rounding up tens of thousands of immigrants whose only ‘crime’ was that the police considered them as ‘illegal’.
These thousands of immigrants have been imprisoned, without any kind of trial, in three large concentration camps near Athens, in the city of Corinth, 60 miles west of Athens, and at the northern city of Xanthi in Thrace.
Two months ago, the Corinth inmates revolted against imprisonment. The Greek government regularly expels immigrants in planeloads to their country of origin. The immigrants’ pleas for proper judicial procedures and asylum are being totally ignored by the Greek authorities.
At the Committee for Equality, Youth and Human Rights, Y Moskhos, Citizen Ombudsman for Children’s Rights, said that the law which allows children to be held in prisons for up to 12 months ‘must be changed’.
Sourlas, of the Justice Ministry, said that children of just 10 years old have been arrested. He said these children had arrived in Greece ‘and been abandoned’.