The government has begun releasing asylum seekers from the Amygdaleza detention center, northwest of Athens, in the wake of two suicides at the facility, authorities revealed Tuesday.
Alternate Citizens’ Protection Minister Yiannis Panousis pledged earlier this month to close the center and he revealed Tuesday that 20 of more than 1,000 people being held there were released on Friday. Another 30 were let go on Tuesday.
Panousis said that some people would be released every day with the aim of closing down the center, which is also opposed by local residents, within the next 100 days.
Police sources said that the first wave of people being allowed to leave the facility will consist of asylum seekers. After this, minors will be allowed out, followed by those who have completed six months in detention.
Authorities are concerned about the fate of minors being held at Amygdaleza as they will have to be housed in hostels or centers where their movements are not restricted. As a result, the police are in contact with other services that could provide the necessary care.
Authorities stressed Tuesday that none of the people being held at the detention center who are suspected of crimes will be released. This also applies to migrants who are in the process of being deported from the country.