Deportees declare hunger strike in German prison

4th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

04 September 2007, Bueren (dpa) - An unknown number of deportees in Germany's biggest detention facility for illegal immigrants have begun a hunger strike, according to a lobby group Monday.

04 September 2007

Bueren (dpa) - An unknown number of deportees in Germany's biggest detention facility for illegal immigrants have begun a hunger strike, according to a lobby group Monday.

Frank Gockel, chairman of the Society to Help People in Pre-Deportation Custody at Bueren, said 60 detainees had begun rejecting food in a mass protest at Germany's practice of detaining and deporting people who are unable to obtain legal immigration status.

The detention centre is sited at Bueren near the northern city of Paderborn.

Volker Strohmeyer, director of the detention site, disputed Gockel's figure, saying just 5 out of 144 inmates refused lunch.

On Sunday, 35 had initially refused lunch and another 27 had joined them, leaving the meal untouched.

The director said all the inmates ate breakfast on Monday and he did not expect a long protest.

"That sort of thing hardly ever happens here. We're assuming it will settle down," he said.

Gockel said the inmates were also refusing to work and were declining orders as part of the protest.

He described the inmates as mostly people who had sought German political asylum and were not believed, or people who had been caught working without permits.

After mass arrivals in the 1990s, Germany tightened its asylum and deportation rules.

Police said 300 people demonstrated peacefully outside the detention facility on Sunday on behalf of the inmates.

dpa

Subject: German news

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