December 8, 2016
The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Greece.
Description of the situation:
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial and police harassment against the human right lawyer Ms. Electra Koutra, President of the Hellenic Action for Human Rights “Pleiades”.
According to the information received, on September 6, 2016 Ms. Koutra was informed that on August 11, 2016, a police officer, member of the Thessaloniki Police, filed a complaint for “insult to his personality” requesting the award of 80,000 euros in civil damages against Ms. Koutra. This action for damages was filed in response to a complaint filed by Ms. Koutra on June 5, 2013, after she accused the same police officer of locking up in a cell and denying the right to see her client (see background information). Ms. Koutra has time until December 9 to present her arguments in writing to the judge in charge of the case, who, by December 24, will issue a date for a court hearing.
Moreover, on September 29, 2016, Ms. Koutra has also been summonsed as a suspect, and then as a witness in relation to a criminal a case in which she represents five Syrian refugee children aged between 12 and 16 allegedly arrested and ill-treated on September 27, 2016, for carrying plastic toy guns in a bag in the street in Athens. This summons contravenes the legal principle that lawyers should not be called to testify in cases tin which they act as lawyers.