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[ 06. Feb 2009 ]

The detention centers on Lampedusa like Trapani Vulpitta in 1999?

Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo, University of Palermo - Because the centres on Lampedusa are detention centers, they both lack the prerequisites and documents needed to operate. Like the Trapani Vulpitta centre, where in 1999 six migrants lost their lives due to a fire ...


... in a cell which was locked with bolts and iron bars, so is the new reception center on Lampedusa on the Loran base and the old reception center, now known as the CIE (Center for identification and expulsion) of Imbriacola contrada. Both centres lack the fire certificates and alarm systems required by law.

In particular, it seems that there are no fire escapes or exits in the former Loran base. If they had existed, the two women who escaped the flames that night, at the cost of being injured in the fall from the window from which they jumped, would probably have avoided injury.

The Minister Maroni is trying, in every way, with disparate alarms, to draw attention away from his personal failure in the mission to Tunisia, and from the situation of indecent illegality of the centres, which the same Home Office has "created" (now administrative detention) on Lampedusa. We, however, request all competent authorities to check the legal conditions and agreements, on the basis of which centres have been handed over to private management organisations.

We also demand the text of the Decree of the Minister of Interior, who, presumably, in cooperation with other ministries, with a simple stroke of a pen, would turn the reception center in Lampedusa into a CIE. This would be done without adapting the structures, which are already collapsing due to the high number of migrants, to conform to current legislation. We demand the immediate closure of all detention facilities located on the island of Lampedusa, and the restoration of a true asylum reception and first aid center with the exclusive purpose of ensuring more rapid transit of immigrants landed on the island to other structures in Italian territory.

Furthermore we also demand to know whether on the date of expulsion order given to migrants detained in the center of Contrada Imbriacola, the decree establishing the CIE had already been published in the Official Journal. As of last 26 January the official refoulement decrees, together with the detention decrees, already recognised the existence of the "Center for identification and expulsion". If the decree establishing the CIE, was not published in the Official Journal before that date, all detention measures, issued as a result of deferred refoulement, adopted by the Police of Agrigento (Questura), would be totally null and void.

It is hard to see how, as the press reports, Justices of the Peace could have validated hundreds of, probably invalid, detention measures, presumably in the presence of an interpreter, in such a short time. It is also hard to understand how none of the public defence lawyers monitoring the judges, entered the Lampedusa CPA / CIE, with a large police escort, raised objections to the legality of detention and refoulement orders, prepared more than thirty days after the entrance of migrants into Italian territory. Regarding "The validation of administrative detention, public defence, and the right to defence" the Sicily ASGI, in collaboration with the University of Palermo, will promote a study initiative, on Wednesday February 11, in Agrigento.

This article by Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo, University of Palermo was translated by Chris B., published first on 05 Feb 2009 @ ::