A young Guinean immigrant committed suicide in Italy in an immigration detention center, in protest against poor conditions

The Italian authorities arrested 14 people after violent protests broke out in a pre-deportation detention center in Ponte Galleria, near the capital, Rome, in the wake of the tragic suicide of an immigrant from Guinea, while human rights powers called for the closure of “inhumane” detention centers, which they considered to be collapsing and does not provide any guarantees to its residents.

Investigation sources revealed that the 22-year-old young man hanged himself with a sheet, and investigators will examine video clips from surveillance cameras inside the center, as well as the note that the young man left, in which he wrote, “I can no longer continue,” demanding that his body be buried in Africa. The young man died before health workers intervened.

His last note said, “I miss Africa very much and my mother too. You must not cry for me. Peace be upon my soul. I will rest in peace.” According to Italian media, two more suicide cases were recorded in detention centers.”

The young man, from Guinea, was transferred to Rome from a migrant hosting facility in Trapani, Sicily, according to the InfoMigrants website.

The migrant’s suicide sparked a state of chaos and condemnation among the center’s residents, leading to the injury of two policemen and an army soldier. The police used tear gas to suppress the violent protests that broke out, which included throwing stones, trying to set fire to a car, and trying to break down a door.

The riot broke out at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 4, when some inmates in the male wing began setting mattresses on fire and throwing objects at staff.

Although the situation appeared to be back under control, at 1 p.m. another group of migrants first tried to breach a barrier, and then began throwing other objects at security forces.

After about an hour, some inmates forcefully opened a security door, were able to reach an area where police cars were parked, and tried to set one of them on fire. In parallel, other people forced open some doors, entered a room used by the Carabinieri Police, stole some personal items, and caused damage to the room.

Prosecutor Attilio Pisani opened an official investigation into incitement to suicide, which is a necessary step to carry out a series of investigative steps, starting with the autopsy of the 22-year-old young man, who was residing in the pre-deportation center, a few days before he committed suicide.

Members of the center-left opposition called for the closure of such centers in the wake of the incident, with the Democratic Party, the Piu Europa (More Europe) party, and the Green Left confirming that “the detention system is collapsing as the number of suicides increases.”

“There is no need to wait for investigations to be able to say that places like Ponte Galleria are completely inhumane. There was no need to wait for the death of a young boy to say that these places should be closed,” commented Valentina Calderon, Rome’s prison guarantor.

Italian prisons and detention centers are suffering from overcrowding, with more than 60,000 people being held in facilities with a capacity of about 47,500 people.

It is noteworthy that the far-right Italian government has expanded the establishment of detention centers for migrants who have arrived or are residing irregularly in Italy, with the main aim of returning them as quickly as possible to their country of origin or to a third country. Since it is an administrative detention, detainees do not even benefit from the rights and guarantees of the criminal justice system.

The head of the extremist government, Georgia Meloni, and her Albanian counterpart, Edi Rama, signed an agreement in Rome last November, which stipulated that Italy would construct two buildings in Albania, which is not a member of the European Union, to accommodate migrants rescued in the Mediterranean in order to “accelerate the processing of asylum applications or possible return” to home countries.

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