The shocking loss of the life of albanian citizen Pëllumb Marnikollaj
The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) first of all conveys its sincere condolences to the family and relatives of victim Pëllumb Marnikollaj.
AHC, based on international documents, article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights and relevant protocols, as well as the practice of the Strasbourg Court, when death because of based suspicions of maltreatment of detainees, of those prosecuted for penal offenses, of detainees or convicts takes place in the premises of police institutions or in pre-trial detention facilities and prisons, responsible authorities are obliged to carry out independent, impartial and immediate investigations. This has not been done.
In fact, victim Pëllumb Marnikollaj, forced to appear before Greek police, lost his live in police premises since August 3, 2016. For AHC, in spite of the conclusion of investigations (although there is reasonable suspicion that violence in the form of inhuman treatment was exercised against him), it is unacceptable that neither our Embassy in Athens nor any of the family members of the victims have been notified about this serious incident that ended with a lost life. It is intolerable and painful that the victim’s family members, following extensive and difficult research, found his body in the refrigerator of the ‘Agio-Anargiro’ cemetery. How can a person ordered by a decision ‘to appear before police’ be considered ‘withou identity?!” How can one explain the fact that Greek authorities notify our Embassy in Athens about the incident only after the latter requests clarifications, at a time when our Embassy should have been notified immediately since it was known that the victim was an Albanian citizen?! For AHC, even the notification was shallow and unconvincing.
Although our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through our Embassy in Athens, requested clarifications about the circumstances and conditions of the death of Pëllumb Marnikollaj, AHC suggests to our Ministry of Foreign Affairs to pursue this painful and shocking incident as a priority and not limit itself only to the formal notification of Greek police. Only a full, comprehensive and impartial investigation may clarify the circumstances of the victim’s death.
AHC keeps in mind that there have been other cases when convicts of Albanian citizenship have died in dubious circumstances in Greek prisons in the past, while investigations have been delayed and biased, leading as a result to ceased or dragged out investigations. In its report on Greece, the European Committee for the Prohibition of Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (CPT), based on a visit in police stations during April 14-23, 2015, states among others that “Regrettably, despite overwhelming indications to the contrary, the authorities have to date consistently refused to consider that ill-treatment is a serious problem in Greece and have not taken the required action to implement the Committee’s recommendations and combat this phenomenon. It is high time for the Greek authorities to acknowledge their responsibilities and to take resolute action to address this matter.” The report also highlights that “The infliction of ill-treatment by police officers at the Security Departments particularly against foreign nationals, including for the purpose of obtaining confessions, continues to be a frequent practice… In those rare cases where a complaint was made or information on police ill-treatment otherwise emerged, the current system of investigations into allegations of ill-treatment is characterized by a number of systemic failings by the police and judicial authorities. Investigations often do not meet the basic requirements of effectiveness as defined by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the relevant standards of the CPT.”