Since Monday, October 24th, 52 people (out of the 65 total in their block), all of them immigrant detainees, have begun a hunger strike in block 10 of the central prison. Their crime: their illegal residency in Cyprus. Their demand: to stop being denied their basic rights which are being oppressed by the State.
These people are being detained in order to be deported, they are not convicted criminals. On the contrary, the criminal in this case is none other than the State which in many cases keeps them in prison for time periods much longer than the 6 months which is defined as the maximum period by directive 115/2008 (since there is no national law to define the exceptions to this directive in article 15 paragraph 6). In addition to this, in many cases the procedural guarantees are not observed and their detention is ordered without even a detention decree.
On Thursday, October 20th, in front of the camera of block 10, a 46-year-old Algerian made a suicide attempt with razors. The video of the attempted suicide is in the hands of the police. This man is married and has two children, he has asked repeatedly to return to his country but they won’t allow him. For more than two weeks he has declared that he refuses to accept food, and his despair urged the rest of his cellmates to begin a hunger strike as well.
On Friday, October 28th, one more person attempted suicide by making a noose from sheets and was saved at the last minute. This man, a Syrian, has been detained for more than a year and also wants to return to his country but they will not deport him. This is a man who has been detained for more than a year, breaking every pertinent law, and they will neither deport him, nor release him.
The fact that this repulsive situation receives practically zero attention from the mass media reflects the general picture of our society, which consciously allows the issue of illegal residents to be hidden under the rug. The State which is preparing itself for the European presidency oppresses human rights with all its brutality, and the Europeanized citizens whistle indifferently in front of the utter humiliation of human dignity, while they’re upholding their image as humanists.
We stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers and also with every person whose human rights are being oppressed by the governments. We call on those who still have some humanity in them to an assembly for the decision of actions to be taken, on Tuesday (1/11) at 6pm at the stairs of Faneromeni School in Nicosia.
People in solidarity with the hunger strikers
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The migrant prisoners decided to stop their hunger strike, thus showing good faith (!) towards the promises of the General Director of the Ministry of Interior of Cyprus…
Their statement here:
This letter represents all the detainees who went on hunger strike, in block 10 Nicosia central prison from the 24/10/11 until the 3/11/11, which lasted for 12days. We got assurance from the people, who spoke to the general director of the ministry of interior Mr. Andreas Assiotis, that Mr. General Director will do the needful to solve our problems within 7days.
We believe that the government and the ministry of interior of Cyprus understand our real situation and this peaceful exercise. In order to show our goodwill and trust towards Mr. General Director and the government of Cyprus, we decided to stop the hunger strike.
We hope to have some good result, so we may not have to do this in future. we went on hunger strike to get attention and assistants, but not to hurt any person, institution or ourselves.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to those all, for their time, hard work and care, provided for all this time.
The cyprus goverment is dirty nasty and sharmful goverment.The treat immigrants like pigs and slaves without respecting the international law.But they should know the eyes of the world is on them.They are toturing and illegally detaining a certain Atemkeng Kingsley….Human right lawyers has just been contacted to this effect and protest organise before their dirty consulate in yaounde.
i know only to well what cyprus prison life is like there degrading to human life ,rapes violence and bullying goes on .to incarcerate a human being for petty crimes ,in such a inhuman way is awfull i truly feel for immigrants to this country ,its corupt law ,nobody stands a fair chance ,ive lived there and witnessed it first hand ,they should let that country rot .tourist need to know what sort of idillic island it is not ,i hope tourism falls and let the island struggle to punish there goverment .untill this island comes out the dark ages and into reality ,there will be no compassion for them .