They were stuck in the Channel of Sicily, in international waters, while attempting to reach Italy on an old fishing boat. They were in 76, almost all young and all Eritrean asylum seekers, with numerous women and children. The youngest just two years. To intercept them - emphasizes the agency Habeshia assistance, citing the story of those desperate people - were "vessels flying the flag room, the Libyan and Italian." A patrol boat came alongside, cutting off their route. There was no escape: that cart full of humanity in search of safety and understanding was forced to tack and sail, escorted to an oil rig in the Libyan waters, where the entire group of migrants was taken over by the border police, which led to the port of Tripoli. No time to land and the military have all moved to a detention center still under construction Sibrata Mentega Delila, a town in the suburbs of Tripoli. On them, now under threat of being returned to the country of origin. For many it is the equivalent of a heavy sentence of imprisonment or even years to be shot: fled Eritrea to avoid having to go to war in the army of the dictator Isaias Afewerki, are considered not only guilty of illegal emigration or desertion but, worse, betrayal.
It 'happened on June 29. The complaint of Fr. Mussie Zerai, president of Habeshia, is circumstantial. The 76 refugees also reported the data of the patrol that stopped them on the high seas: it is called Napolyo 25. They, the 76 prisoners, have no doubt: they are convinced that they were intercepted by a joint Italian-Libyan patrols. Lead us to believe those two flags, the Libyan and Italian, who waved on vessels cross: a detail of which say they are ready to swear.
"The most urgent problem for these desperate - Fr. Zerai notes - is to avoid being deported to the country they fled. And 'this is the first and most urgent request that they communicated by phone. We as Habeshia, we pay them all our voices to proclaim to the world and in the Mediterranean and Libya are still violated the rights of asylum seekers. "
The confirmation of how it is ignored or stifled the cry for help of the refugees and, more generally, the hell that you live in prisons and detention centers in Libya, is also a series of testimonials, gathered by telephone and disclosed by the Integra Foundation / Action, were published online recently by the Republic. How to Debesay, a young Eritrean arrested in Benghazi and, along with other young people looking for a ferry to Italy, where his mother has taken refuge. "Here in prison - he said - we are desperate, frustrated. We tried to go out in all ways, but we could not even paying the guards. Escape is not possible, try to escape if you get punished, beaten on the soles of the feet, excruciating pain. In a cell of 30 square feet are crammed in more than 60, we sleep on the floor, there are only dirty mattresses, cots or mats on the floor. The food, in most cases, only dry bread and water. If you are sick there are doctors and medicine: your destiny is abandonment and death ... I do not know what to think, hope is fading. "
Equally dramatic testimony of Mogos, a seventeen year old native of Asmara, escaped from an Eritrean army training camp and now detained in Gianfuda: "We traveled for 12 days in the desert. Were 50 of us piled into a truck. Near the sea to Tripoli, when it seemed done, the Libyan soldiers took me along to the boys who were with me. The hardest thing is not to see the future, a way out of this endless journey. The few that do come out of prison to work. " Some detainees - explains the Integra Foundation / Action - are bought by wealthy Libyans as a labor force at no cost to their businesses or farms. It's better than jail time, but this "luck" is reserved only to those who have a passport, immediately seized on recruiting in order to avoid any temptation to flee. "We Eritreans did not have a passport and so can not go out even as slave laborers - says Mogos - For us there is no solution. No future. At 17, I'm stuck here in hell. " Anwar is an Ethiopian Oromo, the southern region of the country where it is very strong opposition to the regime of President Meles Zenawi: "I came out of prison Gianfuda for almost a month, bought me a Libyan who needed labor . Then, paying, I was able to continue their journey to the sea ... I was the first prisoner in Kufra and then Gianfuda. It 'was terrible beating us regularly and on time every night, we had no food, no medicines or doctors. In Libya there are no rights, no government ".
Similar stories have been told by many others. As Aroon and Meron, Eritrean, or Salua, Somalia. Desperate cries from hell. But Italy has decided to renew with Libya friendship treaty signed at the time by Gaddafi and Berlusconi. Without even asking the question to expect before, at least, by the revolutionary government, ensuring respect for human rights. Indeed, as repeatedly denounced by Amnesty International, to counter illegal migration, were also repeated rejections indiscriminate sea. This chapter has been signed on April 3 by the Italian Interior Minister Maria Cancellieri and the Libyan Fawzi Al Taher Abdulali. The full text is not known, but according to rumors in the press, seem full of doubt. As the point for the construction of "a health center in Kufra to ensure health services of first aid for illegal immigration." In Kufra, in fact, thousands of migrants arriving from across the region sub-Saharan Africa and the Horn of Africa. "But - Amnesty denounces - has never been a health center, nor a shelter: it is a harsh and inhumane detention center. And the so-called centers of which calls for the restoration, asking the cooperation of the European Commission, have also worked as detention centers, real places of torture. This, in the current situation means that Italy offers partnership to put at risk the lives of people who are in Libya. "
One wonders if it hide the same mistake and the same risk projects such as the "Marine training center" or "training program for police." These are euphemisms for the people back in the sea? The foreign ministers Giulio Terzi and cooperation Andrea Riccardi have excluded. But the complaint came from Habeshia hours for each of the 76 Eritrean asylum-seekers returned to power in Tripoli, seems to confirm that in fact nothing has changed since the days of Gaddafi also in the techniques of "patrol" the Channel of Sicily.
The point is, probably, that he went to renew an "agreement in the dark" with a country that has never signed the Geneva Convention of 1951 on the status of political refugee, so do not make any distinction between asylum seekers and migrants. No matter if you arrive by the thousands of Eritreans, Ethiopians, Somalis, Sudanese fleeing war and persecution. "In Libya, the situation of migrants - Amnesty denounces - is worse now than under the regime." But the government does not seem to have noticed Mountains.