Suicide of migrant in Corinth, Greece sparks riots at camp

Human rights group calls on government to close 'death traps'

29 March, 15:25

    ATHENS - Greece's government has been called on once again to act and close or upgrade refugee and migrants camps after a young migrant staying at the Korinthos pre-departure camp in the Peloponnese area died after hanging himself.

    Local reports said that the young man, or Turkish-Kurdish descent, was found hanged in the toilets at the facility where approximately 700 refugees and migrants are housed.

    His body was discovered by other migrants staying at the camp who posted a photo of the tragic scene on Kurdish language website Pishti-News.

    Rioting broke out after the incident, with migrants setting fire to mattresses and throwing rocks and missiles at police and firefighters before the authorities managed to control the situation and disperse the rioters.

    The United Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat (Keerfa) released a strongly-worded media statement, claiming that the man decided to take his own life after being stuck at the camp for 17 months.

    "The loss of life of a young refugee from Turkey in the concentration camp-hell of Corinth was the final straw that broke the camel's back for the anger of hundreds of people detained there, without committing any crime, apart from not having any papers!," said Keerfa.

    The statement added: "The image of horror that they saw - there is also a video - is unbelievable when they found the young Turkish refugee hanged in the toilet, his lifeless body hanging from the cistern with a wire passed around his neck and his legs dangling in the toilet hole. The Turkish refugee had been detained for more than 17 months." Keerfa also insisted that the migrant's death "is not a suicide, but a result of the murderous policy of unjustified prolonged detention of refugees under the racist laws of Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the EU".

    The organisation also added that this latest tragedy came just two days after another migrant died on the island of Kos "due to the indifference of the authorities to admit him to the hospital in time".

    "We demand that these death traps be closed now, that refugees and migrants receive papers and asylum, and that the borders be opened." Opposition party Syriza weighed in in the wake of the incident, heavily criticizing the New Democracy government's migrant policies.

    "We publicly denounce the government for its inhumane policies which, since taking over the government of the country, have led to the devaluation of human life and dignity," said the party's Corinth branch in a media statement.

    "We demand the immediate abolition of the illegal, unacceptable and inhumane administrative detention that reaches up to 36 months, destroying human souls, and a measure that has been denounced many times by the Council of Europe, leading the country to many convictions in the European Court of Justice, since administrative detention can only be applied as an exception only after all alternative measures have been exhausted.

    Syriza pointed out that when they handed over power in the July 2019 election, there were only about 200 people in the Corinth Detention Center, while today there are close to 850.

    Back in 2019, the administrative detention period was three months, reaching a maximum of six.

    The left-center party concluded: "We demand the immediate decongestion of the Corinth camp, as well as the other centers nationwide, and a change in the policy of generalized detention that creates prisons-warehouses of souls throughout the country.

    Open structures with rules and a proper design and plan are what can be a viable solution in refugee management away from the explosive situations created by closed structures."

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