News

5 April 2021

Detention on Kos is a Common Practice – A court orders the Release of a Woman now

After Moria burned down in last September, the last Pre-Removal Detention Centre on the Eastern Aegean islands is on Kos. It is huge – a prison that does not end. It is a common practice on Kos, to detain persons for several reason.
Among the most common reason is the detention of persons whose asylum application has been rejected. Such a pre-removal detention is an imprisonment of persons to prepare their deportation.
However, there are no deportations. Greece did not deport a single person to Turkey for more than a year now. This means an incredible number of persons is in limbo. Trapped in between, trapped in detention.
So was the single woman we represented in a court procedure lately.


On March 24, 2021 the administrative court in Rhodes, that is responsible for detention on Kos, ordered the release of our client, J., from the Kos Pre-Removal Detention Centre where she had been detained since January 29th. The order came just one day after we filed objections against her detention. J., who is a survivor of gender-based violence, was detained after she received a rejection to her appeal. When she went to pick up her decision on her appeal, the police forced Josephine to sign a paper in Greek, which she can neither speak nor read, handcuffed her, and then immediately transferred her to the detention centre. When she was first arrested, her lawyer tried to call her, but she couldn’t answer because she was still handcuffed.

Unsuitable Detention Conditions

When J. arrived in detention, the police broke the camera on her phone – this is done to every person who is detained on Kos – to make the conditions undocumentable.

J. was then placed in quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine container housed both men and women and, although she had her own space to sleep, she was forced to share the toilet and showers with other men, as a survivor of gender-based violence. The toilets and showers were dirty and when she asked the police for supplies to clean the facilities, they refused to give her any. She also asked the police for menstrual products while she was in quarantine but the police told her they didn’t have any. After two days, a friend was allowed to bring her some sanitary pads, which she had to purchase with her own money.

No Reasons for Detention

Like many people detained in the detention centre on Kos, J. was detained on the grounds that she has a pending deportation order. This is common practice on Kos—the police detain almost every person as soon as they receive a second rejection to their asylum claim. Every person receives the same one page detention order, regardless of their individual circumstances or needs. Although under both EU and Greek law states may detain migrants in some circumstances order to prepare to deport them, this practice becomes unlawful the moment there is no longer a reasonable prospect they can be deported. However, Greece has been unable to deport any migrants for over one year now, and so, although we are thrilled that Josephine has been released from detention, we know that hundreds of people remain illegally detained in inhuman and degrading conditions.

The Court Order

The Court order now requested to release the woman immediately as there are no valid grounds for detention. She was set free in the meantime.

You can read the full decision here (Greek only).

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