Meanwhile in finland ...

No detention center to Katajanokka! - Demonstration on May 29th 2002

29.May.02 - In the beginning of June a closed detention center for foreigners will be opened in Katajanokka, Helsinki, in the buildings which were previously used as a prison. This plan is in contradiction with both the general principles of justice and the human rights agreements signed by Finland.

The detention center is an institution which resembles a closed prison regarding its conditions, and where foreigners will be locked up on the basis of the law on foreigners. Detention can be executed on many bases, but in general it is not based on any crime but e.g. in order to unravel one's identity or entering route. As a basis of detention there can also be a deportation decision by the officials on the grounds of e.g. a prostitution suspicion (without a need for legal proof).

According to the estimation of the officials responsible for the detention center, several dozens of foreigners will be placed in the center, mostly for weeks or months. The detention decisions will be made in special fast trials with a decision of one judge and without a right for appeal.

In the normal Finnish legal practise unraveling one's identity or suspicion of crime without a prosecution are not bases even for arrest, let alone imprisonment. Therefore this kind of detention solely based on citizenship is a gross infringement of western principles of justice.

As an effect of the situation in the countries of departure and the border policies of the European Union, even half of the refugees entering the area of the European Union have to resort to an illegal crossing of border regardless of the big risks. Because the detention will mostly be applied on these asylum seekers, it is also in contradiction with the clause 31 of the Geneve refugee agreement, the clause that forbids the punishment of refugees solely on the basis of illegal entering to the country.

It is also especially precarious that the detention center will be located in the buildings of Katajanokka prison. In connection to the closing of Katajanokka prison the justice department has noted that the conditions there do not fulfil the demands of the international human rights agreements. Nevertheless, the conditions which have been declared improper for the storage of criminals, will now be used for the locking up of asylum seekers.

We are demanding an immediate cancelling of the detention center of Katajanokka and the application of general principles of justice regardless of citizenship. People must not be imprisoned without prosecutions of crime.

Demonstration against the isolation center of Katajanokka on wednesday May 29th. Gathering at the Helsinki railway square at 5 p.m.