The decision of the Athens Administrative Court of First Instance to award compensation to the relatives of a Syrian and an Egyptian who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in January 2017 in the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos is seen as a new milestone.
The court, which ruled last week, acknowledged the dire conditions prevailing at the reception and identification center and noted the authorities’ failure to act with regard to providing residents with decent housing or adequate information about the dangers they face.
Two men died after lighting a fire in their tents to keep warm in cold weather. 20-year-old Egyptian Ahmed Elgamal and 46-year-old Syrian Mustafa Mustafa lived in the same tent and died four days apart, on January 24 and 28, respectively. Their families, represented by lawyer Silina Pavlaki of Pavlakis-Moschos & Associates, filed lawsuits against the Greek state in November 2018 and July 2019. Both claims were merged into one. The court’s decision obliges the Greek state to pay 85,000 euros to Elgamal’s relatives and 250,000 euros to Mustafa’s family.
It is significant that in January 2017, three people died in their sleep within a week, and another was taken to the intensive care unit. All deaths are associated with acute carbon monoxide poisoning.
In January 2017During a severe cold snap and snowfall, the tents in which the inhabitants of the camp lived were covered with a thick layer of snow. This caused several deaths from carbon monoxide, as the tents were heated with gasoline and gas burners, which, in such conditions, literally burned out all the oxygen in the tents. And because of the snow covering the tents, fresh air did not enter them.