Despairing teen refugee found hanged in Libya detention centre | Migration News

WARNING: The next story incorporates pictures which may be disturbing to some readers.

The image of a 19-year-old’s physique hanging lifeless from the ceiling in one of many halls-cum-dorms of the Ain Zara detention centre, south of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, is the most recent proof of the human price of the nation’s detention centres.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, a refugee from Sudan’s war-torn area of Darfur, is believed to have killed himself on June 5 after being launched and apprehended once more within the span of two weeks.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya are languishing within the centres, trapped in infinite cycles of detention and abuse with dire repercussions for his or her psychological well being and security.

Asylum seekers who spoke to Al Jazeera from inside Ain Zara stated Abdel Aziz’s physique was left hanging for hours within the room the place he lived with a whole lot of others.

Mustafa, one other Sudanese asylum seeker who requested that his title be modified to guard his id, advised Al Jazeera the picture of Abdel Aziz’s physique was taken covertly by detainees on the centre. Libyan authorities later confiscated telephones to forestall the picture from spreading, and dozens weren’t returned.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, 19, hanged himself in Ain Zara detention centre.
Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, 19, is believed to have hanged himself in Ain Zara detention centre, close to the Libyan capital Tripoli. [Al Jazeera via sources]

Mustafa stated individuals trapped within the detention centre are rising more and more determined as they see little or no hope for the longer term.

“We now have been right here for 5 months,” he stated. “Mohamed acquired uninterested in this till he reached this stage and he [killed himself].”

Let out, then detained once more

Abdel Aziz and Mustafa had been arrested in an in a single day raid whereas peacefully demonstrating for relocation, safety, and evacuation from Libya outdoors the United Nations’ refugee company (UNHCR) on January 10.

Greater than 600 individuals had been violently arrested and detained that day. The protests adopted a serious crackdown within the western city of Gargaresh, a hub for asylum seekers from African nations, that displaced 1000’s of individuals and resulted within the detention of a minimum of 5,000.

Abdel Aziz was let out on Could 23 as a part of a gaggle of 99 asylum seekers, together with 46 kids, evacuated from Ain Zara with the assist of UNHCR.

He possible spent days on the streets earlier than being apprehended once more by Libyan authorities and brought again to the centre, the place he’s believed to have taken his personal life shortly after.

Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.
Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Aziz [Al Jazeera via sources]

“He was given 500 dinar ($104) but it surely was not sufficient to hire any room to remain in,” Mustafa stated. “The UNHCR makes you signal a paper saying they can not assist with lodging.”

The UNHCR advised Al Jazeera in a written assertion that it was “saddened by the tragic dying of the younger asylum seeker”. It didn’t affirm the sum of help allotted however stated {the teenager} had “acquired money help in several instalments by means of our city programmes”.

The company offered a replica of the consent kind for switch, which states: “UNHCR is NOT offering lodging NOR can it organize for lodging.”

As of Could 22, the UNHCR estimates that there are 2,772 individuals held in detention centres throughout Libya.

The company stated it doesn’t maintain observe of how many individuals are re-apprehended after being launched with its assist.

The Libyan authorities didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Little oversight

Hussein Baumi, Libya and Egypt campaigner at Amnesty Worldwide, advised Al Jazeera detention centres in Libya function with more and more scarce oversight on the a part of worldwide organisations, together with the UNHCR and the Worldwide Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Libyan authorities have closed centres run by the Directorate for Combatting Unlawful Migration (DCIM) that had been rife with abuse, however comparable patterns of violations have been reproduced in newly opened or re-opened centres which can be run by militias away from scrutiny.

Amnesty has documented torture, merciless and inhuman detention circumstances, extortion and compelled labour, in addition to invasive, humiliating and violent strip searches inside detention services.

Even when somebody is launched, freedom will not be assured for lengthy.

“Lots of people who’re launched are captured once more, generally by the identical militias,” Baumi stated, including that detention is commonly profitable for armed teams who ask for ransom. “It’s not a secure house for migrants and asylum seekers.”

For individuals who had been hoping to cross by means of Libya on their solution to Europe, that’s usually not an choice.

The European Union has spent greater than 57.2 million euros ($64.8m) in Libya, with the declared goal of “sav[ing] the lives of these making harmful journeys by sea or land”, in response to a reality sheet printed by the European Fee in June 2021.

It has educated and geared up the Libyan coastguard to intercept boats of refugees and migrants hoping to make it to Europe and return them to Libyan shores. Human rights watchdogs have lengthy decried the alleged conduct of the coastguard, together with using firearms and the deliberate damaging of boats. 

To date in 2022, a minimum of 8,860 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants have been reported as intercepted by the Libyan coastguard and different naval authorities.

“Folks take boats understanding that they could die,” Baumi stated.

“That is the one approach for them to flee mistreatment in Libya.”

When you or somebody you realize is susceptible to suicide, these organisations might be able to assist.

How can Brittney Griner be freed from Russian detention? | TV Shows

On Monday, June 6 at 19:30 GMT:
It has been greater than 100 days since US basketball star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia.

Authorities there allege that Griner flew into Moscow on February 17 with  vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her baggage. She is accused of smuggling important quantities of a narcotic substance – an offence punishable by as much as 10 years in jail.

On Might 13 Griner attended a Russian courtroom, the place her pretrial detention was prolonged by one other month. That ruling got here days after the US State Division mentioned Griner had been “wrongfully detained“.

Earlier than the State Division’s declaration, Griner’s household and the Girls’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (WNBA) had not commented intimately about her detention, nervous that publicity may make her state of affairs worse amid ever-worsening rising political tensions between Russia and the US.

Now Griner’s spouse, WNBA gamers, and the gamers’ union have tweeted broadly about her detention and have demanded her quick launch. But there may be little different media protection of Griner’s case.

A latest prisoner swap noticed US citizen Trevor Reed launched from jail in change for a Russian pilot, and now some consultants say Russia may try and discount for the discharge of arms vendor Viktor Bout – also referred to as “the Service provider of Demise” – who’s serving a 25-year jail sentence within the US.

On this episode we’ll comply with up on Griner’s case, and ask: if a marketing campaign to launch her is underway, then why are US politicians and main athletes in different sports activities nonetheless silent?

On this episode of The Stream, we’re joined by:
Danielle Gilbert, @_danigilbert
Assistant Professor Division of Navy & Strategic Research, U.S. Air Power Academy

US detention of asylum seekers ‘inhumane and wasteful’: Report | Migration News

Washington, DC – The Biden administration has imprisoned tens of 1000’s of asylum seekers in violation of United States and worldwide legislation, a rights group has mentioned in a brand new report, simply weeks earlier than giant numbers of persons are expected to arrive on the nation’s southern border.

In a report revealed on Thursday, Human Rights First mentioned that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has held tens of 1000’s of individuals in jails as an alternative of permitting them to stay within the US with their households or sponsors as their asylum circumstances are determined.

The group mentioned that jailing asylum seekers is “inhumane, pointless, and wasteful” and has needlessly subjected folks to extreme bodily and psychological hurt, medical neglect and discrimination.

“Jailing asylum seekers is basically dehumanising and merciless,” mentioned Becky Gendelman, an affiliate lawyer for analysis refugee safety on the group and the report’s writer.

“It cuts them off from authorized illustration and topics them to horrendous situations of confinement, it inflicts bodily and psychological hurt and it may be re-traumatising for individuals who have fled persecution,” Gendelman advised Al Jazeera in an interview.

Migrants at border
Refugees and migrants have been streaming in report numbers to the US-Mexico border, hoping to say asylum [File: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters]

The report, entitled “‘I’m a prisoner right here’: Biden administration insurance policies lock up asylum seekers”, discovered that since President Joe Biden took workplace in January of final yr, asylum seekers have been held in detention centres for 3.7 months on common.

This included those that handed their so-called credible worry interviews, throughout which an asylum seeker is predicted to elucidate to an immigration officer why returning to their nation of origin may put them at risk.

The detention of asylum seekers is mostly prohibited beneath international law, besides in distinctive circumstances. The Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits detention that’s unreasonable, pointless, disproportionate or arbitrary.

Rights organisations additionally say the detention of asylum seekers, who haven’t dedicated a criminal offense, is illegal and a violation of their proper to freedom of motion.

The report comes because the US on Might 23 is expected to end a pandemic-era coverage invoked in March 2020 that allowed authorities to expel nearly all of these looking for asylum on the border, citing the necessity to defend the nation from the unfold of the coronavirus.

Greater than 1.8 million expulsions have been carried out beneath Title 42, with asylum seekers despatched again to Mexico or their nation of origin, in keeping with authorities figures.

“Whereas the Biden administration has turned away and expelled many asylum seekers beneath Title 42 it has additionally subjected many whom it doesn’t expel to extended and merciless detention,” Gendleman mentioned.

Extended detention

Underneath an settlement with Mexico, the US can solely expel folks from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador beneath Title 42.

Gendelman says lots of these jailed have been asylum seekers whom the US couldn’t expel to Mexico. In accordance with the report, folks from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Venezuela in addition to a number of nations in Africa have been subjected to extended detention.

Biden had pledged to get rid of extended detention, finish using for-profit immigration detention centres, and uphold the authorized proper to hunt asylum. However amid record-high arrivals on the US-Mexico border and assaults from his Republican rivals, Biden has saved in place a number of restrictive insurance policies that his predecessor Donald Trump had championed.

The Biden administration has come beneath frequent criticism from immigrant advocates and progressive Democratic leaders urging the president to do extra to uphold its accountability in direction of asylum seekers.

Trump, a president who made discouraging asylum an essential coverage aim, sought to detain asylum seekers at some point of their proceedings, arguing most wouldn’t present as much as their courtroom hearings if they’re allowed into the US whereas they anticipate the end result of their circumstances.

However this declare has been refuted, and in keeping with TRAC Immigration, a data-gathering organisation at Syracuse College, within the 2019 fiscal yr, 98.7 p.c of asylum seekers who weren’t detained confirmed as much as each courtroom listening to.

Human Rights First’s report mentioned the mass jailing of asylum seekers can be the results of Biden administration coverage (PDF) that designates individuals who cross the border, together with asylum seekers, as a “risk to frame safety” and a precedence for enforcement, in keeping with a February 2021 ICE memo.

“We urge the Biden administration to cease jailing asylum seekers because it ends the unlawful Title 42 coverage. It ought to as an alternative welcome them with dignity and use community-based programmes,” Gendleman mentioned.

DHS didn’t instantly reply to Al Jazeera’s request for touch upon the report.

migrants at border
Most individuals hoping to say asylum flip themselves in to US Border Patrol brokers on the US-Mexico border, however most are expelled beneath Title 42 [File: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters]

‘Like I used to be a prison’

Salma, a human rights and opposition activist from Uganda, mentioned she fled to the US in July 2021 after being detained and tortured. She claimed asylum after touchdown in Los Angeles, California. She mentioned she was detained for six hours on the airport after which transported to the Adelanto detention centre. She mentioned she was chained in the course of the three-hour drive there.

“To begin with, you’re hungry, you’re drained and then you definitely’re chained,” Salma, 30, who used a pseudonym as a result of her asylum case remains to be pending, advised Al Jazeera. “They chained my palms, legs and wrists like I used to be a prison,” she mentioned.

Two days later, she was given a reputable worry interview, which she handed. Nonetheless, she was not allowed to go away the detention centre; she mentioned she was advised it was as a result of she didn’t have relations within the US who may sponsor her.

She was additionally not capable of contact a lawyer immediately, her belongings, together with her cellphone and passport, have been taken away, and her hair locks have been reduce off. The detention centre was so chilly, she mentioned, that some ladies there obtained nosebleeds, whereas the meals was of such low high quality that it was typically thrown away.

She was given a medical parole a month and a half later after she realised that she was pregnant. She mentioned she had a miscarriage a month after her launch. “There is no such thing as a method somebody can survive with out consuming correct meals,” she mentioned.

In accordance with TRAC, 23,827 asylum selections have been made in the course of the 2021 fiscal yr, down from 60,079 a yr prior. In 2021, the quantity of people that have been granted asylum was 8,349 and a further 402 have been granted one other sort of aid.

US Justice Department knowledge additionally confirmed that greater than 1.5 million asylum circumstances have been pending within the courts as of the primary quarter of the 2022 fiscal yr.

In the meantime, Human Rights First’s report discovered that Black asylum seekers have been detained on common for practically 4.3 months – 27 p.c longer than asylum seekers who will not be Black.

Sabri, an asylum seeker who spoke to reporters on Thursday utilizing a pseudonym, mentioned he crossed the US-Mexico border in August 2021 after fleeing Sudan along with his spouse. He mentioned his requests for parole have been denied a number of instances even after he handed his credible worry interview.

He mentioned officers took their belongings and separated him from his spouse. He was held at Winn Correctional Heart in Louisiana, whereas his spouse was despatched to a different detention centre within the state.

“I believed the US authorities would deal with me properly after all the pieces that I had been by,” Sabri mentioned. “However the authorities detained me for five-and-a-half months.”