Amnesty International criticizes Greek police

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The rights group Amnesty International said Thursday it has found a culture of impunity and abuse within the Greek police, which it also criticized for inadequately responding to hate crimes and attacks by far-right groups on migrants and protesters.

Another group created to monitor hate crimes also criticized the police in a separate report. The Racist Violence Reporting Network concluded that hate crimes by Greek police increased last year, despite a "significant decrease" in such attacks overall following a judicial crackdown on the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn party.

"Under no circumstances should one get the impression that Greece has adequately dealt with the problem of racist violence," the network said.

Police have said all reports of abuse are investigated and deny tolerating abuses.

In its report, Amnesty called on the government to eradicate "a range of failures that are undermining public confidence in the police and generating a host of human rights violations."

The group said it documented allegations of torture or ill-treatment during arrest and detention, including from migrants caught entering or living in the country illegally. It said victims of hate crimes have reported law enforcement officials being among the perpetrators.

The research was conducted from July 2012 until February 2014.

The network, which includes monitors from the U.N. refugee agency and Amnesty, recorded 44 incidents involving uniformed officers last year, compared to 25 in 2012.

The network said that after the arrests in September of several senior Golden Dawn officials for allegedly running a criminal organization, racist attacks dropped drastically with only 18 recorded, compared to 148 before the arrests.

The report added that the true number of racist attacks in Greece is most likely much higher than those recorded, as victims, mostly immigrants without legal documents, are often afraid to file complaints.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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