Greece: Refugees on hunger strike to protest state indifference and conditions of detention

 By Potmos

On Wednesday, November 19th, twenty hunger strikers were rushed to the hospital after they collapsed due to exhaustion, malnourishment, lack of medical care and the bad hygienic conditions that prevail in the large containers housing the immigrants.

Amygdaleza, is a ‘detention centre’ which essentially functions as a concentration camp. Around 3000 people are kept there under the regime of administrative detention. The length of detention has recently extended by 6 months and although the limit of detention was up to 18 months, it has now reached two years. In spite of that, some detainees have been unlawfully held there for 26 months.
Simultaneous to the bad conditions of detention, immigrants experience the authoritarian and violent behaviour of guards and police officers. Police officers assaulted the hunger strikers, used threats and even promises in order to convince them to stop the hunger strike. Guards also drove away journalists who went there to gather information on the hunger strike.

A detainee has mentioned the following during his communication with members of the the Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat, which was made public last Wednesday :

‘Due to the hunger strike some have collapsed and were transferred to the hospital, but not all. A police officer has teared down the pieces of paper with the phrase ‘Hunger strike’ on, but we insist on our cause, even if that means we ‘ll die. Today is the third we have not eaten at all. We wrote again on a bed sheet, ‘we will not stop our hunger strike until we are free’, but an officer came early in the morning and tore it down. But we mean it, we won’t eat unless were are free men and women. The government is held responsible in the case of any deaths. We are human beings not animals.’

The detainees began a hunger strike to protest the indifference of police officers and guards that caused the death of 26 year old Mohammed Afshak, who was denied medical care after having complained of respiratory difficulties for months. The 26 year old was injured by police officers during an uprising. Eventually, he was transfered to the hospital at the beginning of November, where he was pronounced dead a few days later.

On Friday, a delegation from Immigration Services met with the hunger strikers and reassured them that the police agreed to:
1. Release all individuals detained for longer than 18 months within five days.
2. Provide 24-hour access to medical care to every ill person.
3. Permit the use of cell-phones.
4. Desist any racist and violent behaviour immediately.

The detainees remain against the 18-month detention imposed on refugees in concentration camps.

After this meeting a number of detainees have agreed to stop the hunger strike for five days starting last Friday, but others are determined to continue due to lack of trust towards the authorities. According to their statements, they want to see these promises materialize, before ceasing the hunger strike.

Translation: BlackCat

Articles translated:

Αμυγδαλέζα: 5ήμερη αναστολή της απεργίας πείνας – μέρος των κρατουμένων συνεχίζει

Απεργία πείνας στην Αμυγδαλέζα: 20 κρατούμενοι με σοβαρά προβλήματα

Quote: Μαρτυρίες απεργών πείνας – Αμυγδαλέζα

Infromation on Mohammed Afshak: Νεκρός λόγω εγκληματικής αδιαφορίας των ανθρωποφυλάκων στο στρατόπεδο συγκέντρωσης της Αμυγδαλέζας

Source: Movement Against Racism and The Fascist Threat



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