Italian police officers escorting migrants to a plane | Photo: EPA/CARLO FERRARO
Italian police officers escorting migrants to a plane | Photo: EPA/CARLO FERRARO

Italy's guarantor for the rights of detainees, Mauro Palma, has denounced an increase in forced repatriations from Italy to Egypt or Nigeria because these countries "have not set up a national mechanism for the prevention of torture."

Over the past few weeks, a peak has been reported in repatriation flights from Italy to Egypt, according to Italy's guarantor for the rights of detainees, Mauro Palma. 

The guarantor stressed that this is occurring while institutional relations between Italy and Egypt have been suspended over the case of Giulio Regeni, an Italian student tortured and murdered in Egypt early in 2016. Nevertheless, stressed Palma, "there is the feeling that, vice versa, the collaboration between the two countries on the issue of forced repatriations has entered a phase of revival". 

Strong concern for repatriations 

The guarantor, as the authority responsible to safeguard the rights of people who have been deprived of their personal freedom, expressed "strong concern over the opportunity of organizing flights of forced repatriation towards countries like Egypt and Nigeria that have not set up a national mechanism for the prevention of torture."

Egypt has not signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) while Nigeria has signed it but failed to implement the mechanisms of prevention, Palma said. 

He also announced that during the night between December 5 and 6, a delegation of his office monitored an operation of forced repatriation towards Egypt during which 16 Egyptian citizens detained at centers in Bari, Potenza and Trapani were flown back to their country. 

Critical issues during the operation 

The operation, Palma said, "took place in a regular manner, although some critical issues" already raised were also reported "during the monitoring" activity. They included "no previous notice to those repatriated; the generalized and preventive use of velcro wrist bands for those being repatriated, regardless of individual evaluation of risks and an effective and concrete need; security checks carried out in a way that was not always respectful of the rights of the person." 
 

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