Article first published on March 15, 2022
Press release – Last Saturday, March 12, a protest organized by various antiracist groups took place in front of the entrance gate of the CPR* (Detention and repatriation center) of Trapani – Milo, one of the institutional structures present on the national territory where irregular foreign citizens are destined for administrative detention and deprivation of liberty even if they have not committed any crime.
The demonstration was accompanied by an inspection inside the facility conducted by Member of Parliament Simona Suriano together with a mediator, Nagi Cheikh Ahmed. They held talks with the detained foreign citizens, the prefect, the managers, and the operators of the centre.
There were 13 people in administrative detention out of the 36 places currently available. The nationalities of the detainees were various, including Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Libya, Romania, and Nigeria. Tunisians continue to be the nationality most present in the CPRs – as subjects systematically subjected to expulsion and return orders, based on the nationality criterion – without having access to proper legal information, the possibility to apply for protection and in general, experiencing practices violating their rights.
On the morning of Saturday 12, we witnessed the entry into the detention facility of two buses carrying some North African citizens coming from the disembarkation of the quarantine ship Moby Dada, which had arrived at the port of Trapani. According to the authorities present, the new arrivals were destined for reception, after having completed the identification procedure.
According to what has been monitored over the months, it seems as if the use of the fast-track procedure used for Tunisian nationals involved the transit to the CPR in Trapani Milo, where the identification photos are taken and the asylum request is formalised in the offices of the Police Headquarters and the Territorial Commission for the Recognition of International Protection, located in the same structure. This systematic conduct, justified by the need for identification, involves the overnight stay of groups of Maghrebi asylum seekers in the CPR prior to their entry into reception. We consider this practice to be an infringement of people’s rights: the removal of personal belongings and mobile phones, as well as the detention of people without an expulsion order and validation, however brief, should be considered unlawful.
On 12 March, among the several people detained with obvious vulnerabilities, there was Sami, a Tunisian in administrative detention in the Trapani CPR for two months. Suffering from prolonged detention led him to repeatedly self-harm by stitching his eyelids, lips and genitals and, as a result, to undergo psychiatric hospitalization several times over the weeks. Following the protest, last night we received the news of Sami’s release with satisfaction. His case, like the previous one of Wissem Ben Abdel Latif, is emblematic of the violence that these facilities systematically operate, producing suffering and death: it is not acceptable to continue to legitimise these places of suspension of rights and deprivation of personal freedom. It is not acceptable to continue to practice forms of imprisonment of migrants, from the quarantine ship to the CPR, to psychiatric containment: migrating is not a crime.
– We demand the verification of the legitimacy of the restrictive measures against people who undergo these procedures: no more illegal detentions!
– We demand a dignified reception for people, regardless of their nationality, with a real possibility to apply for international protection
– We demand the closure of the CPR
Arci Porco Rosso-Palermo
Rete Antirazzista Catanese
Casa del Mutuo Soccorso Fifiddu Robino Partinico PRC Marsala
*CPR (Centri di Permanenza per il Rimpatrio) – Detention and repatriation center
Translated from Italian by Sandra Krause