Necati Zontul v. Greece
Necati is a Turkish-British national who was raped in detention at the port of Chania, Crete, in 2001, after the boat he was travelling with other migrants was intercepted by Greek coastguards.
In May 2001, Necati boarded a boat from Istanbul to Italy with over one hundred other migrants. The boat was intercepted by the Greek coastguard and towed to the port of Chania in Crete. The migrant detainees were placed in a disused school in poor conditions of detention, with severe overcrowding and restricted access to the lavatory, food, and basic amenities. A coastguard trapped Necati in the toilets and forced him to remove his clothes. He then raped him with a truncheon.
The Greek authorities were heavily criticised for their internal investigation of the incident, where they falsified Necati’s evidence, recording the rape as a “slap” and “use of psychological violence”. The perpetrator of the rape was given a suspended sentence commuted to a small fine.
ACTION FOR JUSTICE
In April 2008, REDRESS filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights on Necati’s behalf, in which we argued that Greek courts failed to treat what happened to Necati with the due seriousness that the circumstances require.
On 23 February 2010, the European Court decided to notify the case to the Greek government and asked it to respond. Speaking about this development at the time Necati said:
“The events of 2001 made me feel terrible, psychologically and emotionally. Now I feel much stronger because my case is progressing and because my true story is being told”.
The case was decided on 17 January 2012. The Chamber found that Greek coastguard officials tortured Necati and ordered Greece to pay €50,000 in compensation.
The Court also found that the criminal penalty imposed on the perpetrator of the rape was insufficient. The perpetrator was not charged with torture and the Court took the view that the Greek criminal justice system had not had a deterrent effect to prevent the torture of Necati nor had it provided him with adequate redress.
The Court also found that the Greek authorities had failed in their duty to keep Necati informed of the proceedings to the extent that he was unable to exercise his rights as a civil party and claim damages.
“The Court recognised that rape can be a particularly cruel form of torture, and that Greece didn’t adequately punish the perpetrators or afford redress to Mr Zontul. We hope this judgment will lead to changes in the way that Greece handles such cases in future,” said REDRESS.
- Case name: Necati Zontul v. Greece
- Jurisdiction: European Court of Human Rights
- Date filed: April 2008
- Current status: Decision reached
- Legal representation: REDRESS