More than 300 migrants released

More immigrants and asylum seekers were released from detention centers across Greece on Thursday as the government seeks to make good on a campaign pledge to close down such facilities, citing “inhuman” living conditions.

Until Thursday, 315 persons had been released from a total of six camps. The figure included 17 unaccompanied minors who were transferred to a reception center in Volos, central Greece.

According to official data, 110 people have so far been released from the center in Amygdaleza, north of Athens. Meanwhile, 15 have been freed from Xanthi, 41 from Paranesti and 17 from Evros – all in northern Greece. Another 128 have so far walked out of the detention center in Corinth in the Peloponnese, while four have left the Elliniko facility, south of Athens.

In comments made on Thursday, Alternate Minister for Immigration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou said the process would continue until most centers are closed down.

Immigrants who have left the facilities have all provided authorities with a home address. Those who had been detained for less than six months are obliged to report regularly to a police station. No crime suspects are to be released, officials said.

Christodoulopoulou said authorities were seeking units that could provide the necessary care for unaccompanied children. She said the ministry would try to create additional space at reception facilities for migrants, asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors.

“The previous government had promised the EU it would create space for an additional 2,500 people at reception facilities, but in the end failed to create any at all, since all of the funds were directed to detention centers,” she said.