NIn a ruling, seven judges from the international institution unanimously considered that Athens did not prove “that the use of force was absolutely necessary” to stop a speedboat approaching the Greek coast, on September 22, 2014, in the maritime area of ​​Pserimos .

The speedboat, piloted by two Turkish smugglers, had collided several times with the coast guard boat, slightly injuring one of the soldiers. The soldiers then fired 13 bullets into the vessel’s engine.

Of the 12 migrants on board, two were injured, including two Syrian citizens.

One of them, Belal Tello, was shot in the head and died in Sweden at the end of 2015.

“The fact that the two coast guards only saw the driver of the boat does not in any way exempt them from the obligation to check whether there were passengers on board”, the ECtHR noted, considering that the coast guards could assume that the boat was carrying passengers from Turkey to Greece.

“The 13 shots fired necessarily exposed the boat’s passengers to a risk”, highlighted the European judges, for whom the operation “was not conducted in a way that minimized the use of lethal force and the possible risk to life”.

The Greek Public Prosecutor’s Office opened a preliminary investigation into the incident, but the case was closed by the courts in 2015.

According to the ECtHR, the investigation carried out by the Greek authorities contained “numerous deficiencies that led, in particular, to the loss of evidence”.

Greece has already been condemned for incidents involving migrants.

In July 2022, the ECtHR ordered Athens to pay 330,000 euros to 16 claimants whose boat capsized in the Aegean Sea in January 2014, causing the death of 11 people, eight of them children, a sinking caused by a Greek coast guard vessel that was allegedly traveling at high speed near the boat.

The ECtHR is responsible for ensuring compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights among the 46 member countries of the Council of Europe.

Read Also: Number of migrants killed in the English Channel rises to five

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