ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2020.04.20

View Adopted: 2022.07.19

Andreas Dafnis v. Greece

Conditions of detention of people with severe disabilities

Substantive Issues
  • Conditions of detention
  • Respect for the inherent dignity of the human person
  • Right to family
  • Right to liberty
  • Right to life
  • Torture / ill-treatment
Relevant Articles
  • Article 10
  • Article 15
  • Article 17
  • Article 2.1
  • Article 2.3
  • Article 26
  • Article 5.2 (b) - OP1
  • Article 6.1
  • Article 7
  • Article 9.1
Full Text


The author of the communication is Andreas Dafnis, a Greek national, who is serving a sentence of life imprisonment. His cumulative disability rate is 90 percent. The author submits that the conditions of his detention are characterized by dramatic overcrowding, lack of hygiene and sanitation, and the impossibility to receive prompt medical care and food adapted to his health conditions. He also submits that during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been placed on his right to leave prison and receive visits. The Piraeus Appellate Court Council rejected the author’s request for conditional release on the ground that his disability rate did not arise from a single disease. Mr. Dafnis alleges that since his life was put in danger by the conditions of detention, Greece violated articles 6 (right to life), 7 (prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment), 9 (right to liberty), and 10 (humane treatment of persons deprived of their liberty). He further claims that the Appellate Court interpreted the law in bad faith, in violation of article 15 (principle of legality), and that the restrictions on leaves and visits were in breach of article 17 (right to family and private life). Moreover, he submits that the State party violated article 26 (non-discrimination) by not taking preventive measures to protect prisoners from COVID-19. Lastly, the author claims a violation of articles 2(1) and (3) (right to effective remedy), alone and in conjunction with the above-mentioned articles.


The Committee notes the State party’s submission that the author has not exhausted the available domestic remedies. However, in light of the author’s claim that such domestic remedies are futile and unduly prolonged, the Committee concludes that Greece has not shown how they would have been effective in promptly addressing the author’s situation. Therefore, the claims under articles 6, 7, 9, and 10, alone and in conjunction with article 2(3), are admissible. By contrast, the Committee determines that the claims under articles 15 and 17 are inadmissible because the author has failed to sufficiently substantiate them. The claims under articles 2(1) and (3) alone and articles 6, 7, 9 and 10 in conjunction with article 2(1) are also inadmissible.


The Committee notes that the author’s access to healthcare was delayed due to the conditions of his detention, causing a disproportionate deterioration of his health. Therefore, Greece violated article 6(1), alone and in conjunction with article 2(3). Moreover, the Committee observes that the conditions of detention did not meet the required minimum standards and caused disproportionate physical and mental suffering to the author, as a person with disabilities. Thus, the author’s rights under articles 7 and 10, read alone and in conjunction with article 2(3), have been violated. Having found these violations, the Committee did not examine separately the claim under article 9.


The State party is accordingly obligated, inter alia, to take appropriate steps to:

  • (a) provide the author with continuous and effective access to health care in view of his needs and medical situation and with adequate conditions of detention in view of his disabilities; and
  • (b) also provide the author with adequate compensation for the violations that have occurred.

The State party is also under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar violations occurring in the future. In this regard, it should establish an effective remedy for detainees to complain about their conditions of detention and inadequate provision of medical support.


Deadline: 19 January 2023

By: Giacomo Bruno

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