The latest group of young men who arrived illegally in this country in a fishing boat supposedly from Morocco has not been delighted with the news that they must remain in a high-security wing of Linhó jail, in Sintra, while their situation is ‘decided’.
Explain reports, they “affirmed in court in Faro yesterday” that they had a right to remain free.
However the fact that eye-witnesses to their arrival on the ‘Ilha de Farol’ earlier this week saw them jettison identity documents and cellphones into the sea suggests they may have reason to want to ‘cover their tracks’.
This impression, plus the fact that SEF border agency ‘holding centres’ are already full, saw the judge opt for preventive custody in Linhó.
Says tabloid Correio da Manhã, the young men will be held in a wing that is generally reserved for “the most dangerous prisoners” or inmates serving out punishments.
There are a total of 28 individual cells in the wing, thus each migrant will be held in a cell of his own.
The men will have access to exercise and meals away from the rest of the prison community.
When they learnt of their fate, they “refused to eat their lunch”, says CM. They had already demonstrated “some resistance” to the fact that they were being presented before a judge at all. They had been led to believe (possibly due to the treatment of the earlier arrivals in the past few months click here), that they would be taken to a hostel, given money and food and left to a large extent to their own devices.
This approach however has proved unwise as a number of so-called asylum seekers treated this way have ‘disappeared’ leaving no clue as to where they were headed, or indeed what their plans may have involved (click here).
As to the likelihood that traffickers are now running a route into Portugal, president of AMAL (the Algarve association of municipalities) António Pina has already said that the only way to discourage this is to ‘send all arrivals back’ (click here).