ATHENS – Greece’s new Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition government is planning to release illegal immigrants who’ve been in detention centers for 18 months and move toward closing the facilities.
That comes days after a Pakistani being held at the detention camp in Amygdaleza, northwest of Athens, hung himself.
Under the plan, illegal immigrants, many of whom don’t have permanent addresses, who are released would have to promise to report regularly to police stations although migrants said police treat them unfairly.
In a joint statement, Alternate Citizens’ Protection Minister Yiannis Panousis and his Immigration Policy counterpart Tasia Christodoulopoulou said they planned to release all immigrants who have completed six months in one of the country’s detention centers as well as all those in such facilities who belong to “vulnerable” social groups including the elderly, pregnant women and people with serious health problems.
The developments came as police said they prevented an attempted mass breakout at Amygdaleza where detainees were said to have set two prefabricated buildings on fire as a ruse to help them escape.
The previous coalition government led by New Democracy Conservative leader and former Premier Antonis Samaras was committed to rounding up illegal immigrants and holding them in centers widely criticized by human rights groups before deporting them.