Migrants 'Sew Lips Together with Wire' in Italy Protest

Two North African migrants in detention awaiting deportation from Italy have sewn their lips together with wire as a protest.

Two men, a 28-year old from Algeria and a 27-year old from Tunisia, sealed their lips shut on Saturday as a protest against conditions at the Ponte Galeria Centre for Identification and Expulsion (CIE) near Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

According to a report by the Italian news service Ansa, both have a long criminal records and are being kept at the CIE because they have been given deportation orders.

On Monday, the Algerian migrant, who has been at the centre since June 3rd, attended a hearing where a judge extended his stay at the centre by 30 days.

The other, from Tunisia, who has been at the centre since July 22nd, was previously detained for almost a month at the centre in May where he went on hunger strike in protest against the conditions at the centre and the long waiting times, according to The Local.

His hearing has been scheduled for the end of August.

Six months ago there was a similar protest at the centre, when 15 migrants sewed their lips together.

Luigi Manconi, President for the Commission of Human Rights, told Corriere della Sera that the Ponte Galeria centre and others like it must be closed: "Immigrants are protesting the rule that provides the expulsion of foreigners from Italy who have served their sentences, and the living conditions in migrant camps."

Speaking to The Local last year, Moroccan-born Italian MP Khalid Chaouki said the Ponte Galeria centre was "like Guantanamo," referring to the US detention centre in Cuba where terrorism suspects have been held for years without trial.

"There are cages out in the open more than six metres high...like where you would keep dogs," Chaouki added.

The migrant centre holds 86 men and 38 women at the moment.


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