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Coast Guard Personnel Found Guilty of Torturing Asylum Seeker

Two out of three coast guard personnel accused of torturing an asylum seeker were found guilty by the Piraeus naval court martial, on 25 November.

The men were accused of restricting the victim's breathing so as to simulate drowning and suffocation, carrying out mock execution, as well as other serious attacks on human dignity, immediately after the victim's entry into Greece and during his transfer with other asylum-seekers to the Port of Chios.

The above-mentioned incident was first documented in the report entitled "The truth may be bitter but it must be told – The Situation of Refugees in the Aegean and the Practices of the Greek Coast Guard" by the Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants and the NGO Pro-Asyl, which was published in 2007 and has attracted extensive publicity ever since.

The two defendants received suspended jail sentences of 6- and 3-years as well as long-term deprivation of their political rights. In addition, one of the convicted coast guardsmen faces demotion once the decision becomes final.