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Sharp responses to the police purge of drug addicts in the centre of Athens

08 March 2013 / 20:03:01  GRReporter
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132 drug addicted men and women were transported from the streets in the centre of Athens to the detention centre for illegal immigrants in Amigdaleza. According to the official police statement, they were 76 Greeks and 56 foreigners and they were taken to the centre on Wednesday evening.

Officials say the operation was carried out within the context of the measures against the spread of drugs in the centre of Athens, where the problem has reached large proportions. The police state that the policemen carried the addicts with the help of teams from the Ministry of Health. After arriving in Amigdaleza, they were provided with medical care. The statement reads also that the drug addicts received sandwiches, hot soup and bottles of mineral water and were released after that.

The case has provoked sharp reactions from organizations that support the drug addicts, medical associations and political parties. According to non-governmental organizations, the drug addicts were "collected" and taken to the centre in Amigdaleza to be listed and subject to medical tests without their consent.

The organizations condemn in a joint declaration "another violation of human rights." "After the action to catch illegal immigrants, the disgracing of drug addicted women and the purges, this is another case, which is deepening the social injustice and the social crisis."

The federation of doctors in hospitals accused the government of carrying out purges instead of developing a national strategy to address the problem in which the forces of repression should not play any role. "Operations such as that and which are undertaken in the name of public health and safety breach international conventions, the constitution, laws and lead the society to a deadlock," reads the statement of the federation.

In response, the Ministry of Civil Defence replies that the criticism aims to gain political dividends and the critics do not make any suggestions for solving the problem.

"The Greek police are not responsible for the detoxification of the drug addicts nor does it intend to start playing this role. But their job is to fight drug trafficking in the city centre in order to stop the horrific scenes, in which the addicts use the drugs in public places." The Ministry states that it will not allow "this unacceptable situation, which is discrediting our country and humanity to continue forever. Therefore, the Ministry provided the drug addicts with medical care for the first time and in cooperation with the Ministry of Health."

The partners of New Democracy in the government coalition expressed their disagreement with the police operation as well. PASOK states that it has nothing to do with the attitude of treating the drug addicts as patients and that this violates their rights.

The socialists are questioning the claims that the operation was held for the benefit of the drug addicts bearing in mind the fact that the assistance of the competent organization against drugs OKANA was not sought. PASOK has required the Ministry to explain the acts of the police.

The Democratic Left and the main opposition party SYRIZA reacted sharply too. Both parties state that the human rights of the captured were suppressed in this case despite the recently voted law that contains "milder" measures as regards the drug addicts.

The liberal Drasi party, which is not presented in parliament, condemned the acts of the police as well. "Neither prohibitions nor hypocrisy will solve the drug problem; only specific prevention policies, programmes to reduce the harm and securing the right to treatment for each person separately will solve it.

Mass gatherings of people who are unable to protect themselves break the law under which they should be treated as sick. Such actions only aggravate the problem."

 

Tags: SocietyPoliceDrug addictsDetention centre for immigrants
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