Protests in the big detention centres after declaration of an extension of the detention duration to more than 18 months
Today the authorities of the mass detention centres in Drama/ Parenesti, Komotini, Corinth and Xanthi informed the detained sans-papiers that they might stay even longer than 18 months, up to 24 months, or 36 or for an endless period if they do not co-operate with the authorities according to a new rule. In fact co-operation means here “voluntary return”. The only alternative is an asylum application.
It has to be noted though that according to the European Directive 18 months are the maximum period for administrative detention and this only if the deportation is feasible. Nevertheless, the greek authorities detain many people belonging to nationalities that can not be deported, such as Afghans, Eritreans, Somalis and even people from Syria.
copyright: Ta NEA 2013
The detainees in the so called pre-removal centres that opened with the initiation of Xenios Dias police raid in beginning of August 2012 have been already psychology broken by getting every three months the information of their prolongued detention for another 3 or 6 months. The limit of 18 months seemed already so far but at least gave a hope to an end of their imprisonment. Today the shocking information of even more time behind the bars led to uprisings, self-injuries and hunger strikes.
Yet it will become clear in the next days if the threat of another extension of the detention duration will get real or not when the next detainees complete 18 months. Reportedly a few of them have already received detention decisions that with an extension of the maximum detention period of 18 months for another 6 months – even before they have completed 18 months.
Aghia Barbara Hospital in Aigaleo, Athens has been announced to become one of the new detention centres for migrants in Athens adding to the alreaady existing 5,000 places in mass detention centres that were opened after August 4th, 2012 Operation Xenios Dias.
Antiracist organisations, labour unions, municipal movements and neighbours protested against the change into a detention centre and demanded the re-opening of the hospital. They stopped bulldozers from entering the to be construction site. Also the mayor expressed that there was no interest by the local government to accept this measure and that he would proceed to protect peoples lives. Consequently the re-construction was temporarily stopped but will continue after elections, Minister Dendias said. As he continued the government planned an open camp for men and women there and not a detention centre. Nonetheless and given the Ministers tradition in anti-migratory policies no one trusts his statement.
The government meanwhile plans to open also detention centres in other recently closed down hospitals of West-Athens such as the Therapeftirio Chronion Pathiseon Paidon in Sxistou and Skaramanga street.
400 migrants are since the morning of August 28th on hunger strike in Fylakio detention center near Orestiada in Evros.
Their protest began when they were informed that their detention duration would get extended to 18 months.
ON August 10th detained migrants in Amigdaleza near Athens protested in an uprising against the extension of their detention from 12 to 18 months. 1.620 migrants are currently detained in this prison while it was built only for 820. In the past months different human rights organisations had reported about the inhuman detention conditions, about cases of police violence and forced “voluntary returns”.
Saturday 10th of August: Immigrants imprisoned at Amygdaleza detention center (near Athens) started a revolt around 21.00 o’clock. They protested against the deplorable conditions and the extension of their detention from 12 to 18 months. Many of the detainees face deportation following the negative decisions on their asylum cases and have lost hope.Continue reading ‘Uprising in Amigdaleza’
In Lesvos island dozens of refugees are detained in the port being exposed to the burning sun while lacking water and food supply. Among them are children and even a 2-month-old baby. +++ In Amigdaleza detention conditions have even worsened since November 2012, said Rebecca Harms from the Green Party after a second visit in June 2013. +++ Meanwhile a young migrant (20-year-old) from Cote d’Ivoire committed suicide in Grevena police station because he didn’t want to be deported to his country.
Meanwhile, KEERFA (ΚΕΕΡΦΑ), the Movement “United against racism and the fascist threat” denounces that Greek authorities and IOM use “Gestapo like torture methods” to force refugees and migrants detained in Amigdaleza to “voluntarily” return.
First they are detained for many months without knowing when they might be released, then they are being pulled by force to the airport. A woman employee from IOM escorts them who threatens that if they don’t accept to sign the voluntary return they will wear them head covering masks and bring them by force to the airport. IOM employees enter detention centers to collect signatures for voluntary return in co-operation with some embassies such as the one from Pakistan. Continue reading ‘Detention conditions in Greece inhuman and life-threatening – IOM enforces “voluntary return”’
Following the repeated announcement of prolonguation of their detention, the migrants which were arrested during police raids of the Xenios Dias police operation started a hunger strike in the police station of Iraklio, Crete. Reportedly they suffer also from police violence and repeated ill-treatments.
“It happens often that they beat us with punches and kicks whenever we ask for something, even the smallest thing. The worst behaviour is shown by the officers when some one of us is ill and asks to see a doctor or to get medicine. One officer shouted repeatedly: ‘Put my d…g in your mouth and you won’t need any further medicine!’”
Only 10 days earlier 21 migrants had started a hunger strike in Xanthi detention centre when they heard their detention period will be extended again and they might stay almost 2 years in prison without committing any crime.
In the end of April detainees in Kalipoli police station in Piraeus had started a hunger strike to protest the prolonged detention in a cell with no access to natural light designed for maximum 1-2 days of detention. Some of them have been there since August 2012. The officers made a whole in the wall to get some sun light in because they said detainees had lost their natural feeling for day and night. Among the persons detained there is one with cardiological problems and another who needs psychological treatment. Some of them were detained in summer, lacked winter clothes and now ask for summer clothes again. They have almost reached one year of detention in a small cell.
The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in support for the far-right Golden Dawn and an increase in racist attacks. Jamal Osman talks to one man who is fighting back.
Michael Chege and his friends patrol their neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, most nights. After many encounters with the neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, they set up their own brigade, nicknamed the Black Panthers.They want to protect themselves from the fascists who are targeting people who are not ethnic Greeks. Continue reading ‘Standing up to Golden Dawn in Greece’
“We could die without anyone even learning about it. It is our fifth day on hunger strike in the detention facilities of the Police Station of Moshato. We live like dogs”, says Armen Mourantian: “We sleep in shifts in a room full of dirt. Six people sharing three mattresses. Three full rooms. In the fourth one, which is the largest, they have cornered more than 15 people”.
5th day of hunger strike in the detention facilities for immigrants in Moshato
It was already past midnight when the young Armenian made a phone call to ‘E’ in order to make a plea for help. “This moment we are aloud to make phone calls. We were arrested by men of DIAS group [special police group on motorbikes] in the street. Our papers were expired. None of us has been charged with theft or any felonies. We are held for 7-8 months with a deportation decision”. Continue reading ‘We live like dogs and sleep in shifts’
On Thursday April 18 a Moroccan detainee jumped from second floor of Corinth detention center. He was transferred to hospital after falling on the cement. Authorities claimed he had fallen on a special mattress but his inmates saw him fall on the mere floor. While authorities claimed he had only slight injuries, his ankle is destroyed. The young man had started earlier together with other migrant detainees a hunger strike. Reportedly more and more detainees try to commit suicide. Only that day there have been 6 suicide attempts the hospital of Corinth informed!
The young Moroccan after falling from the second floor.
Just a few days earlier detained migrants had threatened to jump of the roof but were talked off doing it. At the same time large numbers of detainees inCorinth and Amigdaleza had started refusing food. These protests emerged once again due to the anouncement of the authorities to keep them for another 3 months in prison. Many of them are detained since the summer 2012. In October 2012 the detention period for undocumented migrants had been increased from 6 to 18 months.
Manolada strawberry farmers shoot immigrants who demanded 6 months salaries. More than 20 wounded in hospital.
The immigrant workers had reportedly gathered to demand six-months’ worth of unpaid wages when one of three work supervisors whom they were negotiating with shot them. About 20-30 of the 200 strawberry pickers from Bangladesh got injured. Local media reported that four of them are in a serious health condition. The employer has been arrested and investigations are going on.
Only one day later some of the in Patras hospitalised migrants instead of left to go home were arrested for lacking valid residence permits and transferred to detention for deportation.
Several thousand migrant workers (many of them reportedly undocumented) are empoyed as strawberry pickers in the area.
This is not the first time that immigrants in Nea Manolada have protested against harsh working conditions.
In 2008, immigrant farm workers staged a two-day strike (delaying the shipments of strawberries by at least a few days) to protest against harsh working conditions. Their strike exposed slave wage exploitation, shocking living conditions and prejudice.
The government at the time responded to the strike by ordering labour inspectors to crack the whip on farmers exploiting migrant workers in Nea Manolada.
Despite the country’s soaring rate of unemployment, agriculture is heavily reliant on immigrant labour.
In 2009, two farmers in Manolada, alleged to have tied two Bangladeshi immigrants to a motorcycle and reportedly dragged them through a central square.
... 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.
8 dead, 3 rescued wounded and 5 missing. The boat which sank near Menderes district close to Izmir carried 16 refugees. Among the dead a mother and a small girl of 4-5 years. Most of them were seemingly from Syria. (Source: http://infomobile.w2eu.net/)
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