KISA press release

KISA condemns yet another case of violence against a Palestinian refugee who was detained at the Detention Center for Undocumented Migrants in Mennogeia. The incident occurred yesterday July 23, 2015. In addition, we oppose the decision made by the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD) to detain and deport the victim of the attack who lives in Cyprus under international protection for the past nine years.

Mr. A.X. who is originally from the occupied Palestinian territories is under subsidiary protection since 2006. In 2014 he was found guilty for a civil offense and served one year in prison. Following his release, the CRMD issued a warrant for his detention and deportation using the excuse that he is “posing a threat to the general population” despite the fact that the offense for which he served time does not justify such a characterization.

According to what, Mr. A.X. said, during the first few days of his detention at Mennogeia, he has been informed that his release was a matter of time since the competent authorities has come to the understanding that his detention was erroneous. As the time passed and the promises received were not turning into actions, Mr. A.X.’s frustration understandably grew. Additionally, mr. A.X.’s psychological condition was aggravated by a series of asthma attacks triggered by the air-conditioning system of the detention center.

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Last night at meal time, Mr. A.X. frustrated by the treatment he receives from the authorities, reacted impulsively to the provocative attitude of a warden and threw his meal to the floor. Subsequently, Mr. A. X. left the dining hall and retired to his room to calm down. Following the incident, a group of wardens went to his room and beat him up. It is worth mentioning that when the victim of the attack understood the intentions of his wardens, he tried to leave his cell to enter a hall that is covered by CCTV in a desperate effort to prevent them from harming him.

The handling of the whole situation by the competent aithorities raises several questions in regard with the reasons for which at the beginning arrest warrant has been issued by the CRMD given that, as a Palestinian under a subsidiary protection status, he cannot be deported to his country of origin while no other country would accept him for entry and  residence so that he can voluntarily leave Cyprus. Also, the fact that he committed an offence does not make him a dangerous person for the public order according to law and also it does not automatically makes him an irregular migrant.

In addition to that, we re-raise our concerns regarding the recent appointment of the Head of the Asylum Service in the position of the Deputy Director of CRMD since these two positions are in conflict, and the concentration of excessive power of this same person, apparently, is not exercised according with the principles of law and good administration.

Furthermore, facts of the press releases that were given to the media from the Police, rise questionmarks as to which extent have the complaints for the beating of Mr. A.X from the wardens, have been reported and are being investigated.

Following the preceding disclosures, KISA:

Call on the CRMD to annul the warrant for Mr. A.X.’s detention and deportation and to release him.
Demands the appointment of an independent prosecutor to investigate Mr. A.X.’s complaint as the victim of an attack, hoping that this will not be yet another case where the victim of police brutality will in turn be falsely prosecuted for attacking police officers.
Call on the Ministry of Interior to resolve the issue that arises from appointing the same person as chief of both the Refuge Services and the CRMD.
Call on the media not to broadcast the information given to them by police sources in the case where members of the police are involved and especially when the incidents described take place in detention center.

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