"In the border detention centre, we were fed one meal per day and slept on the floor"
Massoud Faramarzi Khosravi, 51, is an Iranian asylum seeker who has lived in Greece for the past 4 ½ years. He is currently participating in the hunger strikes in Athens.
We decided to do this hunger strike - even going as far as sewing our lips together for some of us - because our situation here in Greece is absolutely unbearable and so far all of our letters to various government ministries have been ignored. Even now, the only response we have had from the government has been through the media. They say we are bluffing, doing this for show. But there were 25 of us at first, and 20 more people have joined us since the start of the strike, including families with children. Would they come if we were bluffing?
Greece is like a prison, we are trapped here. We are forced to remain on the territory while our asylum requests are examined, and the procedure can take years. One man in our protest has been in Greece for over 12 years and still his asylum request has not been dealt with! If they catch us trying to leave the country to go to another European country we are immediately arrested, locked up, and face deportation to our country of origin. We can’t go back to Iran, because our lives are in danger there. We have appealed to the embassies of other EU countries to let us file asylum requests outside Greece.
"We are trapped here"
When I arrived four years ago over the Turkish border, I was arrested and locked in a detention centre in the border town of Feres. I stayed there for over three months, in a cramped common cell with between 20 and 40 other people, depending on the days. There were men, women, sometimes even children. It was dark and filthy. We slept directly on the floor, not everybody had a blanket. They gave us only one meal per day, we were always hungry and thirsty. Several times, I witnessed guards badly beating up a prisoner because he had said or done something they didn’t like. [France 24 has contacted the Feres border detention centre, which was one of the centres visited by Nowak, for their response to these allegations. We will update the post with their statement once we receive it.] But we are not criminals!”