Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Slavery Conditions in the Paphos Detention Centre

I did promise to start writing regularly but it just hasn't happened yet!   However in trying to work out how to disseminate the following document from a friend in Cyprus.  Here it is below:

Slavery conditions in the Paphos detention centre
By Marios Demetriou, Simerini, 14 April 2014
The non-governmental organizations, Cyprus Stop Trafficking and Future World Center, have filed another complaint regarding squalid conditions of detention of aliens for the purpose of deportation. It involves a 17-year old Somali, Abdi Rasak Ome Mohamed, who has been held for almost 5 months at the Paphos police station, almost in complete isolation, wearing the same clothes he was arrested in last December, with insufficient twice-daily food provisions.
Arrest at the Paphos airport
The President of Cyprus Stop Trafficking, Androulla Christofides Henriques, informed SigmaLive that representatives of the organization, accompanied by a Cypriot lawyer and a Somali translator, visited the Somali minor last Friday, 11.04.2014. Ms. Christofides told us that until last Friday, he had not been allowed to contact a lawyer or any member of his family.
The youngster, who is not 18 yet (born on 02/11/1996), came to Cyprus in October 2013 and was arrested in December 2013 at the Paphos airport when he attempted to travel to Norway using a fake passport. He also carried his birth certificate confirming his age, taken from him by the police. He was arrested and incarcerated at the detention center, after being accused of possessing false documents; on January 14, 2014 a detention order and deportation were issued.
He had been beaten by El Shabab
The young Somali says that the reason he left Somalia was because he had refused to enlist himself in the outlawed Islamist terrorist organization El Shabab (which forcibly recruits teen Somalis, mainly from rural areas of the country). A member of the organisation threatened to kill him, he was severely beaten and lost 70% of his hearing.
Ms. Christofides told us that although he asked to see a doctor, he had not yet been transferred to the hospital for the necessary tests. He was refused even painkillers! The youngster complained that an officer of the Social Welfare visited him twice, the first week of his detention and three weeks ago, without the presence of a translator, and ignored his request to seek political asylum.
Living in an impoverishment situation
The 17 year old Somali told his visitors that he was allowed to go out in the courtyard of the detention center for 20 minutes every 3-4 days and he was always accompanied by a police officer. The rest of the time he is locked in his cell, alone. His clothes and his personal belongings were seized on the day of his arrest at the airport and have not been returned to him. He wears the same clothes for almost 5 months now (!), has not been provided with the basic toiletries such as toothpaste and shampoo (they were given to him by his visitors last Friday). There is a toilet in his cell and he is allowed to clean it with water only 3-4 days. Because of the stench, he is unable to sleep. He is given food twice a day, once in the morning and at noon, but not in the evening. As a result, he lost a lot of weight and his clothes do not fit him any more. He ties his clothes on his body with a plastic ribbon as he has no other clothes to wear... He also complained that officers in the detention center often force him to clean the cells of other detainees.

Request to Mr. Hasikos to free him

Ms. Androulla Christofides Henriques, president of the organization Cyprus Stop Trafficking wrote “Am Epos am Ergon “- “dictum factum, in a note to the Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos.”Dear Minister, you suggested that we should work together and I accepted that with enthusiasm! As part of this cooperation, I am sure that you will solve the problem of the young Somali boy who is being held at detention center in Paphos soon, (Easter is coming and it's a shame to make him stay in). In the context of our cooperation, our organization can take care of him and deal with the problem of his hearing."