Greece: 400 immigrants remain in jail past their sentences


Some of the 30 Tunisian migrants kept at the Lampedusa reception center protest against their repatriation at Lampedusa airport on April 12, 2011. Around 26,000 undocumented migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year, including around 21,000 who said they were from Tunisia, claiming they were fleeing a grim economic situation after the political revolution in January.


Filippo Monteforte

About 400 immigrants in Greece remain trapped in jail, even though they have completed their sentences. They are unable to leave because of "difficulties with carrying out their deportation orders," Athens News reported today

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Spyros Karakitsos, head of Greece's Prison Guards' Association, told Athens News that immigrants are typically trapped in the prison system for an extra 12 months past their sentences. 

In December, a European Union report found that prison overcrowding is a major problem in some European countries, such as Greece. Greek prisons have an overcrowding rate of 130 percent, Sofia News Agency reported

The news comes as Greece plans to crack down on illegal immigration by locking up those who pose public health risks. Amnesty International has previously called the plan "deeply alarming," the Los Angeles Times reported

And earlier this year, Greek officials announced plans to open 30 new detention centers for illegal immigrants. 

The stranded inmates are scheduled to be transferred to the new detention centers, Athens News reported today