Nine men from Mali who were living in Malta for many years but were thrown into a detention centre three months ago, have finally been released, after the government admitted Mali was dragging its feet on producing deportation papers.
The move by the government comes hours before a silent protest was scheduled to coincide with Valentine’s Day, calling for their release. The men were originally part of a larger group of 33 who were rounded up for deportation as part of a joint EU programme where Mali was meant to take back rejected asylum seekers in return for aid.
Life will continue to be unpredictable for the migrants as the government insists on its right to deport them as part of this programme. But at least today they can start readjusting to a life outside of the Safi detention centre where NGOs have complained about the conditions in which they were housed.