UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Greece, entry point into the European Union for many illegal immigrants, holds people without trial for months in "appalling" conditions, a U.N. report says.
Almost 90 percent of arrests of illegal migrants in the EU are taking place in Greece, which acts as a gateway to Europe for people traveling from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, EUobserver reported Thursday.
Conditions in many Greek detention facilities are "inhuman and degrading ... appalling ... dysfunctional," a report by the special U.N. investigator on torture and cruel punishment, Manfred Nowak, said.
Lack of access to toilets and showers, lack of access to outside yards for up to two years, lack of blankets and warm clothes amid plunging temperatures and inadequate medical care were repeatedly cited in Nowak's report from a 10-day fact-finding mission.
"As a result of the poor conditions, many people had respiratory, skin as well as psychological problems," Nowak's report said. "Such conditions of detention clearly amount to inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of Articles 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
Migrants and asylum-seekers face pre-trial detention of up to 18 months, are incarcerated together with hardened criminals and have little access to interpreters and lawyers to file appeals, Nowak said.