Migrant centers to be shut down after suicide

The government has vowed to keep its election pledge to shut down migrant detention centers after a Pakistani man hung himself at one in northern Athens on Friday.

“I am here to express my embarrassment. We are done with detention centers,” said Alternative Minister for Citizens’ Protection Yiannis Panousis after visiting the Amygdaleza center on Saturday, adding that the government needed a few days to prepare the relevant legislation. “We are going to do what we said before the elections, we are going to do what we said in Parliament,” he said.

A group of around 50 people demonstrated outside the center during Panousis’s visit, which came a few hours after the 28-year-old man used a towel to hang himself from his bunk bed. He was named as Muhammad Nadim by activists on social media but authorities did not confirm his identity.

A coroner’s report confirmed that the man had killed himself, police said. He had been arrested on December 12 in Rethymno, Crete, for entering Greece illegally. He was moved to Amydgaleza on Friday. He is the fourth migrant to die at the center since last summer and the second to lose his life there last week, according to activists.

During the election campaign, SYRIZA pledged to shut down the centers, which consist of either collections of prefabricated huts or are based at disused military camps. The promise was repeated recently by Alternate Minister for Immigration Tasia Christodoulopoulou.