Kurdish migrants held in dire conditions in Lithuanian detention facility

Prison officials in Lithuania, a member of the European Union, appear to be using fear tactics to get migrants to sign documents to accept being deported to their countries of origin.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish migrants captured by Lithuanian authorities and held at detention facilities in the country live in dire conditions, sources familiar with the situation say.

Detainees are kept in unsanitary and overcrowded cells, with the skin infestation scabies apparently spreading among inmates. Sources provided Kurdistan 24 with graphic images showcasing the captives' situation, shown below. 

Other detainees are likely subjected to similar conditions. Lithuania is a member of the European Union, which has an outspoken human rights commission.

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Kybartu Prison, where Lithuanian authorities have placed migrants, consists of several buildings and accommodates 700 people, with 130 captives from the Kurdistan Region in one building.

In another prison, which houses several women and children, guards blindfolded then handcuffed three inmates, sources familiar with the situation told Kurdistan 24.

The guards wanted to force the blindfolded inmates to sign a paper stating that they wanted to return to Iraq, the sources added. The prison officials then took away the captives' phones and moved them to an undisclosed location.

"In this way, the guards wanted to frighten the other prisoners," one of the migrants told Kurdistan 24, noting that the detainees, including women and children, panicked and started crying.

Many of the women signed the paper to agree that they would be voluntarily deported to Iraq, the sources explained.

The men were separated from their families and transferred to another detention facility where they were also forced to sign such documents.

"Many people have already signed the paper agreeing to deportation."

The migrants, one source stated, urged government officials in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to address their terrible condition in the country.

One of the Lithuanian detention centers where migrants are held in terrible living conditions. (Photo: Kurdistan 24) 
An overcrowded cell where Lithuanian officials are holding migrants captive amid COVID-19. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
A cell where Lithuanian officials are holding migrants captive amid COVID-19. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
A washroom inside a prison facility where Lithuanian officials are holding migrants captive. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
A detainee at a Lithuanian prison where migrants are held, apparently suffering from the skin infestation known as scabies. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)