Cyprus Mail

Detention centre protest

Menoyia detention centre

Constantinos Psillides

Four men, 3 Iranians and 1 Afghan, climbed on the roof of Menoyia Detention Center in Larnaca and threatened to kill themselves unless their demands were met.

The four men climbed on the roof at around 9.45am fire department officers and police negotiators rushed to the scene to plead with the detainees.

According police sources, one of the men demanded the release of his wife from Menoyia, while another wanted to see his child. The man was married with a Cypriot but they were now divorced and his ex wife denied him visitation rights.

The other two were protesting against their lengthy detainment. One of them has been in Menoyia for seven months and the other for 26 months.

Migrants can be detained at Menoyia for six months but can be extended to 18 months, if authorities are trying to determine the person’s country of origin and identity.

Holding an immigrant for over 18 months is a violation of EU law.

The negotiators finally convinced the detainees to climb down at around 4pm, according to the Cyprus News Agency.

None of them was injured and they received promises that their demands will be given priority.

This is not the first time in recent months that detainees staged a protest at Menoyia in a bid to be heard.

On June 23 the Cyprus Mail received a number of photographs, showing the word “freedom” written in blood on the wall of the facility’s toilets.

An official with Menoyia confirmed that the act was carried out by an EU citizen who was held in Menoyia for four months pending deportation.

The detainee wanted to be sent back but had to remain detained until his identity was confirmed. The officials told the Cyprus Mail at the time that it was not a suicide attempt, but “a self-inflicted injury.”

The man is still held at the detention centre.

Concerns over Menoyia have also been expressed by Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou.

Savvidou told parliament in May that the detention centre has been turned into a maximum security prison.

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