European Court of Human Rights rules against Greece over 2014 fatal shooting of Syrian migrant

Greece
Wed, 17 Jan 2024 7:23 GMT
ECHR orders Greece to pay $86,000 in damages to wife and two children of Belal Tello.
European Court of Human Rights rules against Greece over 2014 fatal shooting of Syrian migrant

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled against Greece on Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a Syrian migrant on a boat nine years ago near the island of Keci (Pserimos).

The Strasbourg-based court unanimously said there was a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the ECHR and ordered Greece to pay €80,000 ($86,000) in damages to the wife and two children of Belal Tello, who succumbed to his injuries in December 2015, more than a year after he was shot in the head by the Greek coast guard, which was chasing the migrant smuggling boat he had been traveling in.

In a statement, the ECHR said it concluded that the use of force in the incident, which took place on Sept. 22, 2014, had been "neither absolutely necessary nor strictly proportionate" to the legitimate aims set out in Article 2 of the Convention.

"Having regard to all these factors, the Court considered that the coastguards, who could have presumed that the vessel being monitored contained passengers, had failed to exercise the degree of vigilance required to minimize any risk of endangering lives and had used excessive force in a context of regulatory uncertainty concerning the use of firearms by members of the coastguard service," it added.

The court also highlighted shortcomings in Greek authorities' investigation regarding the incident.

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