Cyprus Mail

‘Hunger strikers being ignored’

By Constantinos Psillides

As the hunger strike at the Menoyia detention centre entered its fourth day, the 25 immigrants participating have complained that no government official has talked to them.

Relatives of the hunger strikers contacted the Cyprus Mail and claimed their loved ones were experiencing dizziness and light-headedness and asked for them to be transported to a hospital. “We are worried about them,” said the wife of one of the hunger strikers.

“Nobody cares if they die or not. We have no idea what to do, how to deal with this. They shouldn’t be in there. They shouldn’t have to go through this,” said the woman, an Iranian national.

On Monday all detainees at the B-Wing at Menoyia went on a hunger strike, protesting what they considered as a prolonged detention.

The state is allowed to detain immigrants at Menoyia for six months at most. Anything further than that is a violation of EU legislation on deportation. The immigrants at B-Wing claim that some of them have been there for over a year and a half.

The woman who contacted the Cyprus Mail fiercely protested her husband’s detention. “I have been living in Cyprus for 11 years. I raised children here. I have been working day and night to make a decent living. I saved enough money to buy a house, I did everything I was told by all officials and now my husband is facing deportation. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to fight this.”

The Iranian woman said her husband came to Cyprus illegally, arguing that he was trying to flee religious prosecution.

She claims that they went to immigration immediately after her husband and tried to secure citizenship through official channels. She claims that they filled all necessary paperwork, did everything they were told but her husband still ended up in jail. “They threw him in prison for six months for illegally entering the country. I waited for him to be released but the state transported him to Menoyia. He is there for a month now, awaiting deportation. I don’t know what to do and how to stop this”.

As a rule immigration deports anyone who was imprisoned or connected with a crime. When the man was released after serving time for illegal entry, immigration reportedly contacted police and had him declared “a threat to the public”, which is grounds for deportation. Immigration has been repeatedly criticised for this practice.

Neither immigration nor the interior ministry returned calls seeking comment.



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