Place of detention

Greece

Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 10/06/21

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Pre-removal detention centres

According to Article 47(1) L 4636/2019, asylum seekers are detained in detention areas as provided in Article 31 L 3907/2011, which refers to pre-removal detention centres established in accordance with the provisions of the Returns Directive. Therefore asylum seekers are also detained in pre-removal detention centres together with third-country nationals under removal procedures. Despite the fact that pre-removal detention centres have been operating since 2012, they were officially established through Joint Ministerial Decisions in January 2015.[1]

Six pre-removal detention centres were active at the end of 2020. The PRDC of Lesvos, has temporarily suspended its operation due to extended damages following the widespread fire of September 2020.  Also, the PRDC of Orestiada has also suspended its operation due to renovation works. The total pre-removal detention capacity is 4,599 places. A ninth pre-removal centre has been legally established on Samos but was not yet operational as of March 2021. According to information provided to GCR by the Hellenic Police, the capacity of the pre-removal detention facilities is as follows:

Capacity of pre-removal detention centres[2]
Centre Region Establishing act Capacity
Amygdaleza Attica JMD 8038/23/22−ιγ΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 118/21.1.2015; JMD  8038/23/22−να΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 2952/31.12.2015 922
Tavros

(Petrou Ralli)

Attica JMD 8038/23/22−ιγ΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 118/21.1.2015; JMD  8038/23/22−να΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 2952/31.12.2015 270
Corinth Peloponnese JMD 8038/23/22−ιγ΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 118/21.1.2015; JMD  8038/23/22−να΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 2952/31.12.2015 960
Paranesti, Drama Thrace JMD 8038/23/22−ιγ΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 118/21.1.2015; JMD 8038/23/22−να΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 2952/31.12.2015 500
Xanthi Thrace JMD 8038/23/22−ιγ΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 118/21.1.2015; JMD 8038/23/22−να΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 2952/31.12.2015 200
Fylakio, Orestiada Thrace JMD 8038/23/22−ιγ΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 118/21.1.2015; JMD 8038/23/22−να΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 2952/31.12.2015   (suspension of operation) 0
Lesvos Eastern Aegean JMD 8038/23/22−ιγ΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 118/21.1.2015; JMD 8038/23/22−να΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 2952/31.12.2015   (suspension of operation) 0
Kos Dodecanese  JMD 8038/23/22-ξε, Gov. Gazette B’ 332/7.2.2017; JMD 8038/23/22-οε΄, Gov. Gazette B’ 4617/28.12.2017 474
Samos Eastern Aegean JMD 3406/2017, Gov. Gazette B’ 2190/27.6.2017 (not yet operational) 0
Total   3,326

The functioning of these pre-removal facilities has been prolonged until 31 December 2022 under a Joint Ministerial Decision issued at the end of 2018.[3] According to this Decision, the estimated budged for the functioning of the pre-removal detention centres is €80,799,488.

Closed reception centres

According to IPA, the Manager of the RIC refers the third country nationals against whom a detention order has been issued to the Closed Reception Centers (“Κλειστά Κέντρα Υποδοχής”)[4]. Also, as mentioned above, L. 4686/2020 introduced a new type of “closed” facility. Article 30(4) L. 4686/2020 amending article 8(4) L.4375/2016 foresees the establishment of the so called “Closed Temporary Reception Facilities” for asylum seekers against whom a detention decision has been issued and the “Islands’ Closed Controlled Facilities”, for asylum seekers, persons under a removal procedure and persons under geographical limitation. The provision does not specify further information, such as the general operation of such centers, the reasons for placing third country nationals in such facilities, the possibility of and procedures for entry and exit, general conditions, the maximum period of stay etc and up to today such centers have not yet been established.[5] Additionally, the law specifies that the “Closed Temporary Reception Facilities” are to be developed on the model of pre-removal detention centres, managed by the Police[6]. It should also be noted that Article 47(1) L 4636/2019 only refers to pre-removal centres as facilities in which asylum detention is implemented. No such facilities have been established as of the end of March 2021.

Police stations

Apart from the aforementioned pre-removal facilities, the law does not expressly rule out detention of asylum seekers in criminal detention facilities.[7] Despite commitments from the Greek authorities to phase out detention in police stations and other holding facilities, third-country nationals including asylum seekers and unaccompanied children were also detained in police stations and special holding facilities during 2020. As confirmed by the Directorate of the Hellenic Police, there were 863 persons in administrative detention at the end of 2020 in facilities other than pre-removal centres, of whom 149 were asylum seekers.[8]

As stated in Grounds for Detention, detention is also de facto applied at the RIC of Fylakio.

 

 

 

[1] Joint Ministerial Decision 8038/23/22-ιγ on the creation and functioning of Pre-removal Centres of Detention of Foreigners, and their regulations, Gov. Gazette 118/Β/21-1-2015, available at: http://bit.ly/2kTWzKX.

[2]  According to the information provided by the Directorate of Hellenic Police, 11 February 2021.

[3] Joint Ministerial Decision 8038/23/22-πζ/, Gov. Gazette Β’ 5906/31.12.2018.

[4]  Article 39(7)c IPA.

[5] See inter alia UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNHCR Comments on the Draft Law “Improvement of Migration Legislation, amendment of provisions of Laws 4636/2019 (A’ 169), 4375/2016 (A’ 51), 4251/2014 (A’ 80) and other Provisions”, 12 June 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/39RD7tl , p. 9.

[6]  Article 116(9) IPA

[7]  Article 46 IPA.

[8]   Information provided by the Directorate of the Hellenic Police, 11 February 2021.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation