The Greek government calls them "hospitality centers," but these detention facilities are anything but hospitable. They are a concentration camps.
The worst of these camps is Amygdaleza, where almost 1600 refugees are suffering humiliation, police violence, and torture.
Referred to by many in the international community as the "Greek Guantanamo,"
Amygdaleza was built last year as a part of a larger government crack-down on newcomers to this country. The conditions are appalling: overcrowding, minimal hygiene, incomplete or no medical care, and cases of police brutality. Prisoners say that temperatures can go sub-zero in the winter and reach 50 degrees Celsius in the summer. Some even report being tortured with electricity so that they will sign a "voluntary deportation" form.
Worse still, there is little hope for release. Often, immigrants don't know why they are being detained, as there are no translators, and they can only contact a lawyer or their families through a payphone (which few can actually afford). Now, the government extended the minimum imprisonment to 18 months!
They supposedly stay there until either their request for asylum is approved or they are deported and the chances of the former are slim: in 2008, only 0.05% of asylum requests were approved at a primary level, according to Amnesty International. Even those who have requested repatriation are still being detained indiscriminately.
In short, detention facilities violate the basic human rights of innocent men, women and children. The must close - starting with Amygdaleza!