The Safi detention centre. Photo: EPA
A group of immigrants who participated in a revolt at the Safi detention centre on Monday night caused extensive damage to the centre, breaking beds and heaters and trying to break down the gate with a bed, Inews has reported.
The nine male immigrants who have been charged in court so far are aged between 25 and 57 and hail from Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq and Libya. A tenth Palestinian man will also be charged, but he is recovering in hospital from injuries he had sustained while under arrest at the police depot. A magisterial inquiry and an internal police inquiry have been launched to ascertain whether the man’s injuries were the result of a beating he had suffered at the hands of the police.
It is unknown how the ten men ended up in detention, which is reserved as the stop before deportation for people unauthorised to be in Malta. Last year, an activist who visited the detention centre warned migrants there are being subjected to squalid conditions – including poor food, thin mattresses with no vests, and brutal guards.
The nine men were charged in court yesterday with damaging the detention centre, threatening the guards, and breaching the public peace. They pleaded not guilty but were denied bail on the grounds that they could influence witnesses if they were to be returned to detention.