Two brothers from Nigeria who made the deadly crossing from Turkey to Lesvos in a rubber dinghy were immediately detained in the pre-removal prison inside the so-called “Hotspot camp”, Moria. For almost three months they were isolated from society, adequate legal assistance or support structures. All refugees from countries with less than 33% acceptance rate (which are more than 28 countries including Syrian single men) can currently be detained immediately after their arrival on Lesvos, for the entire duration of their asylum procedure. While the two brothers were held in detention, their asylum application was rejected twice under the fast-track border procedure implemented on the Greek islands since the EU-Turkey statement of March 18th 2016. It has been repeatedly pointed out by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and lawyers such as those from the Legal Centre Lesbos that the fast-track procedure tramples roughshod over human rights. In practice, individuals are targeted because of their nationality and stripped of their legal right to a fair and proper asylum hearing.
Together with eight fellow detainees, the two brothers were deported back to Turkey on November 30th by ferry from Mytilene. They only experienced Europe from behind the barbed wire and blank walls of a detention centre, guarded by policemen subject to a constant feeling of isolation and suffering inhuman treatment.
“The conditions in the closed Section B of Moria Centre [are] particularly poor and could be considered as inhuman and degrading,” one Council of Europe researcher reported.”
Inmates are stripped of their personal possessions, denied blankets and often live among flooded sewage. Some can only be seen by a doctor at the discretion of the prison guards.
Thanks to these conditions and a lack of medical support, one of the brothers got seriously sick. A video of his deportation shows that he was not even able to walk on his own when he was brought handcuffed on the ferry. Obviously, this condition was no reason for FRONTEX and the Police to postpone his deportation – as we have seen in several similar incidents across recent months.
In Turkey, the two brothers were detained in prison for an unknown period of time under even more inhumane conditions. After a few weeks, they were deported back to Nigeria without the been given the possibility to apply for asylum in Turkey. They reported that they had been gagged and threatened with a stun gun during their airplane deportaion from Turkey to Nigeria.