Thirteen prison guards allegedly implicated in the murder of an Albanian prisoner named Ilia Kareli are to face charges of aggravated torture resulting in his death, following a decision by judges in Serres.
Ilia Kareli was found dead in his cell in the Nigrita Prison in March after having been savagely beaten by prison guards. Kareli had been transferred to the Nigrita jail after having stabbed a prison guard to death in Malandrinos Prison. On arrival in the Nigrita jail, it appears that he was beaten and tortured for several hours in the waiting area for new arrivals. Testimony and photographs released at the time appear to document the torture. Kareli succumbed to his injuries shortly after his beating.
Among those who will sit in the dock will also be the former director of the Nigrita jail, who is accused of abetting the crime. Meanwhile, two correction workers have been cleared of all charges in the case after judges found that there was insufficient evidence to implicate them in the crime.
Six of the prison guards were remanded in custody following Kareli’s death. Their request for release from pre-trial custody was denied. According to the judges’ decision, “Based on the specific particular characteristics of the act, it is considered substantiated that if they are released it is very possible that they will commit additional crimes.”
For six hours following their arrival in Nigrita Prison, the prison guards consistently tortured and beat Kareli in order to punish him for the death of their colleague Giorgos Tsironis. Sustained wounds to Kareli’s body led to his death shortly after.
According to decision 189/2014: “The Albanian inmate Ilia Kareli who, on the 25th of March, 2014, fatally wounded the correctional worker of the Manadrinos prison, Giorgos Tsironis, was transferred on the 27th of March, 2014, from the General Detention Center of Malandrinos to the Detention Center of Nigritas. On his arrival in Nigrita jail and during the duration of his stay in the waiting area from 15.55 until 18.32 when he was led to his prison cell, correctional workers of the Nigrita jail subjected the prisoner to systematic and continuous torture in order to punish him for the death of their colleague. As a result of their actions they caused the Albanian prisoner bruising and a fracture of the sternum. The specific fracture and the acts of torture which they systematically subjected him to were sufficient to cause the death of Ilia Kareli from cardiac arrythmia a few hours later.”