Watchdog condemns state asylum process

The Ombudsman yesterday called for a «decentralization» of the system for processing immigrants’ asylum claims, referring to «the essential collapse of an improvised and dysfunctional state procedure.» Ombudsman Giorgos Kaminis said he felt «obliged to express concern at the procedure being followed» after police stopped accepting asylum claims at the Aliens Bureau on Petrou Ralli Street. Kaminis said it was «imperative» that authorities accept all asylum applications «without restrictions and selective criteria.» Last month a row broke out between police and rights groups after a Pakistani man fell into a ditch in Votanikos and died after allegedly being chased by officers. It has been claimed that the 29-year-old had been waiting outside the Petrou Ralli office before being chased.