Greece responsible for inhuman prison conditions

Conditions at Greek prisons, from overcrowded, filthy cells to restricted access to toilets, led the European Court of Human Rights on Thursday to rule that Greece was responsible for "inhuman and degrading conditions" at some facilities.

The judges considered two cases, one brought by a prisoner and the other by an illegal immigrant.

Vassilios Kanakis, a 61-year-old Greek who had been sentenced on international drug trafficking charges, complained of the overcrowding and deplorable conditions at four prisons.

The court agreed that his incarceration at Larissa prison between 2009 and 2011 was inhuman. He had been locked up in a cell infested with cockroaches and during the night prisoners were denied access to the toilets and had to use bottles.

The other case involved Besik Khuroshvili, a 43-year-old Georgian national, who was detained on three occasions over unlawful residence in Greece and complained about the Aspropyrgos detention centre for illegal immigrants, near Athens, in 2010.

He said the place was packed -- 136 people lived in a 240-square-metre (2,580-square-foot) space according to the Greek government -- with poor light and ventilation and miserable sanitary conditions.

He said he was given just 5,87 euros ($8.00) per day to live on which was only enough to buy two sandwiches.

Greece was fined a total of 16,500 euros in damages for the two cases and another 2,500 euros in costs and expenses.