Nicosia, Cyprus: 52 people on hunger strike

picture of prisons
Nicosia prison

Since joining the EU in 2003 Cyprus attracts many tens of thousands of sans papiers migrants. The state continues to treat them ruthlessly. 52 immigrant detainees have been on hunger strike in Nicosia prison since October 24th.

Submitted by Mr George on October 31, 2011

Since Monday 24th October 52 people (out of the 65 total in their block), all of them immigrant detainees, have begun a hunger strike in block 10 of the central prison. Their crime: Their illegal residency in Cyprus. Their demand: to stop being denied their basic rights which are being oppressed by the state.

These people are being detained in order to be deported, they are not convicted criminals. On the contrary, the criminal in this case is none other than the state which in many cases keeps them in prison for time periods much longer than the 6 months which is defined as the maximum period by directive 115/2008 (since there is no national law to define the exceptions to this directive in article 15 paragraph 6). In addition to this, in many cases the procedural guarantees are not observed and their detention is ordered without even a detention decree.

On Thursday 20th October, in front of the camera of block 10, a 46 year old Algerian made a suicide attempt with razors. The video of the attempted suicide is in the hands of the police. This man is married and has two children, he has asked repeatedly to return to his country but they won't allow him. For more than two weeks he has declared that he refuses to accept food, and his despair urged the rest of his cellmates to begin a hunger strike as well. On Friday 28th October one more person attempted suicide by making a noose from sheets and was saved at the last minute. This man, a Syrian, has been detained for more than a year and also wants to return to his country but they will not deport him. This is a man who has been detained for more than a year, breaking every pertinent law, and they will neither deport him nor release him.

The fact that this repulsive situation receives practically zero attention from the mass media reflects the general picture of our society, which consciously allows the issue of illegal residents to be hidden under the rug. The state which is preparing itself for the European presidency oppresses human rights with all its brutality, while the europeanized citizens whistle indifferently in front of the utter humilation of human dignity, while meanwhile upholding their image as humanists.

We stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers and also with every person whose human rights are being oppressed by the governments. We call on those who still have some humanity in them to:

an assembly for the decision of actions to be taken, on Tuesday at 6pm at the stairs of Faneromeni school.

Nicosia, Cyprus


Mr George

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Mr George on November 3, 2011

The hunger strike of the 52 immigrants in the central prisons of Cyprus is continued for the 10th day (24/10 - 2/11). The authorities have paid little attention to it, showing a total lack of care for the immigrants' lives and health which are at stake.

The immigrant hunger strikers are held in violation of the Supreme Court's limit of 6 month detainment, and are also refused the return to their countries, and other alternatives of detainment have not been made available, such as bail, voluntary return to their homes or temporary stay permits.

They are being pressured daily to forfeit the hunger strike, and threatened that their children will not be allowed to attend school.

On thursday 27/10, a 46-year-old man from Algeria attempted suicide in front of block 10's cameras and butchered his body with a razor. He was rushed to the General Hospital of Nicosia in an ugly condition.

The next day, 28/10, a Syrian man attempted to hang himself with a noose out of a bed sheet.

Both are now in the Psychiatric ward of Athalassa!

On tuesday 1/11, 15 more immigrants in the cells in Lakatameia began a hunger strike. A few weeks ago, in the same cells, a 28year-old man from Georgia passed away.

On the same day, a spontaneous gathering was held outside of Lakatameia's cells to show solidarity with the hunger strikers. The police provocatively shut doors and windows, and avoided contact with the people.

The media and the entire political spectrum have covered up the events, while the attack of nationalist youths against arabic-speaking students of the Vergina lyceum was given much air time.

They are attempting to promote xenophobia and racism, trying to divide the working class and pin society's problems on immigrants.

But now they are afraid. They are afraid to highlight the issue because they are afraid of the people's reaction and the direct support to the immigrants, so they try to repress the strike from the inside. They are afraid because a potential victory for the immigrants would mean a rise in moral for struggles on a larger scale.

The issue of immigrants without papers and asylum seekers is an issue that the 'democracy' of Cyprus continues to face in terms of repression and detainment, violating basic human rights.

We call everyone internationally to express their solidarity to the 76 hunger strikers and demand their immediate release.


End the mistreatment of immigrants!

Immediate fulfillment of their just demands!

Libertarian Communists Organization

Mr George

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Mr George on November 3, 2011
Block 10 hunger strike continues
By Natalie Hami Published on November 1, 2011

TWO of the men taking part in a hunger strike by illegal immigrants and failed asylum seeker detainees in Central Prison’s Block 10 that began last week had to be hospitalised on Sunday.

According to police sources, around 40 have been on hunger strike in protest over what they claim to be ‘unjustifiable detention’. From the around 60 held there, only 20 are eating.

They confirmed that one of the men, a 41-year-old failed Iranian asylum seeker, Majid Eazadi, was put on a drip while the other, an Algerian man, refused. The men were then taken back to the holding cells.

“I started the hunger strike eight days ago, and four days ago I also stopped drinking water,” said Eazadi, adding that he will not break it. Eazadi is the only one refusing both water and food.

Failed asylum seekers who have been detained can only be held for six months when they have to be either released or deported.

“I won’t break it until we make our point,” he said. Eazadi wants to be released not sent back to Iran, describing the situation there as ‘bad’ and as a result believes he cannot live there. “I just want to go out and live like a normal person,” he added.

Police chief Michalis Papageorgiou stated yesterday the detainees did have deportation orders issued by the Interior Ministry but added they are often uncooperative in producing travel documents so that they can be deported back home.

“I do not believe that their lives are in danger but in cases where it is thought that they should go to a hospital they will go immediately,” said Papageorgiou, adding that there is medical personal standing by at the Central Prisons if the need arises.

According to lawyer, Michalis Paraskevas and NGO Future World Centre solicitor Corina Drousiotou, Eazadi has been waiting to be deported for at least three years now. He was arrested in 2007 then released 36 months later, only to be arrested again not long after.

“Some failed asylum seekers cannot be deported because their travel documents cannot be found,” said Drousiotou.

She also explained that Iran is one of the few countries who do not accept forced returns, therefore, if Eazadi does not want to go back he cannot be made to.

Mr George

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Mr George on November 3, 2011
More hunger strikes follow Block 10
By Natalie Hami Published on November 2, 2011

ILLEGAL immigrants and failed asylum seekers in the Lakatamia holding cells embarked on a hunger strike yesterday, following those in the Central Prison’s Block 10, against their long-term stay in detention.

Police confirmed that around 15 people refused to eat the food provided to them at lunchtime in protest of their long-term stay in detention.

The hunger strike in Block 10 has been ongoing since October 24.

In an effort to boost their confidence, a support group, consisting mainly of Cypriots and a few immigrants turned up outside the Lakatamia holding cells last night and made their voices heard, according to lawyer Michalis Paraskevas, who was part of the group.

The support group of about 35 people met yesterday at Phaneromeni to discuss what action should be taken to deal with the fact that failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants are being detained for longer than six months.

Paraskevas said that a protest will be held tomorrow at 1.30pm outside the Interior Ministry.

According to the law, failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants can only be detained for six months. Then they must either be released or deported.

Mr George

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Mr George on November 3, 2011

Letter of the hunger strikers


Dear Sir/Madam,

We the detainees in the immigration detention,block 10, Nicosia central prison, kindly write and humbly solicit for your urgent assistance in mitigating in our unjustifiable detention. our cases are enormous ranging from unjustifiable detention against the clear decision of the supreme court of Cyprus; long detention period of over six months, denying international students of the asses to complete their degree and so on.

on these, we feel neglected and compelled to notify your institutions of the existing situation inhere which is pitiable and unacceptable.

As a way of calling for concern from appropriate human rights quarters and institution, we are collectively on a hunger strike since Monday the 24th of October 2011and intend to push with this peace agenda until we get attention from the authority inspite of the health consequences.

We wish to state categorically that, this decision is not a threat but rather an appeal and an expression for your assistance at this time of our great travails for your timely and urgent assistance.

we are confident that your prestigious institutions and goodwill offices will be of huge assistance to our unjustified detention and sorry situation.

while we wait for your quick response,

Thank you in anticipation

Yours faithfully,

Block 10 Detainees.

Mr George

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Mr George on November 3, 2011

Hunger Strikers speaking in english.

Mr George

12 years 1 month ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Mr George on November 4, 2011

hunger strike is over, at least temporarily, here is a letter from the prisoners:

Hello everybody
This letter represents all the detainees who went on hunger strike, in block 10 Nicosia central prison from the 24/10/11 until the 3/11/11, which lasted for 12days. We got assurance from the people, who spoke to the general director of the ministry of interior Mr. Andreas Assiotis, that Mr. General Director will do the needful to solve our problems within 7days.
We believe that the government and the ministry of interior of Cyprus understand our real situation and this peaceful exercise. In order to show our goodwill and trust towards Mr. General Director and the government of Cyprus, we decided to stop the hunger strike.
We hope to have some good result, so we may not have to do this in future. we went on hunger strike to get attention and assistance, but not to hurt any person, institution or ourselves.
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to those all, for their time, hard work and care, provided for all this time.