Hunger strike forced to stop after police intervention

The hunger strike in Moria pre-removal detention centre (PRO.KE.K.A) ended on 8th April after allegations of police brutality.

The circumstances surrounding the end of the strike remain unclear because police have blocked prisoners’ communication channels with each other and with the outside world. Detainees are denied access to their telephones on weekdays, so they are cut off from support networks. During the week, police blocked communication between rooms in the prison.

However after three days of hunger strike, the detainees of PRO.KE.K.A were forced to eat again. There have been a number of concerning allegations of police violence during the week. Many of these allegations are unconfirmed because of communication difficulties. It is clear that a special-forces police unit was present for the duration of the strike. A small number of men were removed from their cells for interrogation and at least one of them was beaten.

Prisons around the world release detainees during the Corona pandemic, yet migrants in Greece remain locked up awaiting deportations that will not happen in the near future. The prisoners in PRO.KE.K.A went on hunger strike with the demand for freedom and to be heard but police do everything they could to prevent this. They were not alone – in Paranesti detention centre, police also violently suppressed a hunger strike.

People in pre-removal detention centers in Greece are imprisoned because of their status or nationality. They have committed no crime. Still, pre-removal detention centres have the same rules as prisons. The detained are allowed half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening to go out of their rooms, and are not allowed visits from family members.

As New Democracy’s asylum policies are implemented, we hear more allegations that police beat detainees in PRO.KE.K.A. The prison runs with no oversight. While they remain in detention the prisoners have no chance to hold police to account. And when they are released from detention, their uncertain asylum status leaves many afraid to challenge the violence they have endured.