Fylakio in September 2011

Yesterday we received a phone-call from relatives of Syrian refugees, who have been prisoners in Fylakio (Northern Greece) since a few days:

Today I talked with somebody who was released a few days ago from Fylakio prison about his experiences there. He didn’t want to talk about it first. He said he didn’t want me to feel sorry for something that happened to him, and make me suffer, me and my family. But I said to him: “Tell me the whole truth. The people have to know what happens in there!”

They get food once a day. The food is hardly enough to survive.
The drinking water is dirty. Sand is coming out of the tap.
The toilets are dirty.
There is no fresh air. No ventilation.

Once a months they are allowed to go out in the yard. Never they see the sunlight and they are always locked in. In 46 days they have been two times outside to breathe.

Only once, at the 3rd of September, when the prison was burning. This day they had to stand for four hours in the sun, no shadow anywhere. Collective punishment?

One guy started a hunger strike. Nobody was interested in his protest. So finally he tried to hurt himself with a knife. The police was just watching. Later they transferred him into another cell. Seven days isolation. Afterwards they brought him back to the big cell, back to all the other prisoners. The demand of his hungerstrike had been to get released. But nobody listened. Nobody outside even noticed his protest.

Something else: Police beats people. They beat you in a life-threatening way. Beating and abusing this is normal in Greece. They beat the people in there, they torture them.

If somebody gets sick there is no doctor.

He told me:

I did not apply for asylum. I took a private lawyer who said to me if I do, I will have to stay very long in this prison and there is no chance to get asylum in Greece anyway. The lawyers always promise some things but they lie a little bit, about the chances of getting released.

The sitation inside is horrible. There is no electricity. The people sleep three in one bed. If one is falling from the bed, he can break his hands or his skull and nobody is taking notice. Once and Afghan fell down. He was bleeding heavily and nobody did anything to help.

There are different nationalities and ethnicities in one small room. If they start a fight the policemen stand outside laughing about it until the fight is over. Or until somebody gets a fracture or something else happens. They don’t care.
There are many people in one cell and all the time new people are pushed inside.

My only wish was to escape from this situation. Only to get out of there. Even if I would be deported. Anything would be better than this prison. This is why nobody wants to apply for asylum here. Because it’s so horrible in this prison and nobody wants to be forced to stay here for the whole six months – even not for one day longer!


Imprisoned refugees in Fylakio protested on 3rd of September 2011. They set the mattresses on fire. This is the ongoing revolt after a series of revolts in prisons in (Northern) Greece where people are locked because they are searching for a safe place to stay. Revolts and hungerstrikes we will make public. Publicity is the only (weak) protection against the brutal repression that follows the revolts in most cases:

On the last revolt in Fylakio, 3rd of September 2011: http://infomobile.w2eu.net/2011/09/04/revolt-in-fylakio-detention-centre-3rd-september-2011/

Riot in Fylakio Detention Center, 4th of December 2010: http://w2eu.net/2010/12/04/riot-at-the-fylakion-detention-centre/

Demonstration of the Greek antiracist movement in Evros, Fylakio 18th of December 2010: http://w2eu.net/2010/12/19/fylakio/

List of (some) hungerstrikes and revolts of migrants in Greece 2009 and 2010: http://infomobile.w2eu.net/resistance/hunger-strikes/

Some photos from Evros:

In August 2011 Medicins sans Frontieres announced that for almost a month, there has been no medical care to immigrants and asylum seekers in detention: http://clandestinenglish.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/msf-no-medical-care-for-immigrants-in-detention-centers/

The infomobile

... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.

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email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

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