Two asylum seekers on hunger strike in solitary confinement

Two of a group of 10 asylum seekers on hunger strike in a Rotterdam detention centre have been placed in solitary confinement, the justice ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

The two have been placed in the cells, which contain a mattress on the ground and nothing more, out of psychiatric necessity, not because they are refusing food, a spokeswoman is quoted as saying.

Lawyers specialising in refugee policy told the paper they had reached agreement with detention centre management that this would not happen.

‘I would like to hear for myself what their psychiatric situation is,’ lawyer Frans Willem Verbass told the NRC. ‘I have questions about this ministerial statement.’


The ministry says 10 asylum seekers are still on hunger strike in Rotterdam, three of whom are also refusing liquids. Another has been hospitalised because of his deteriorating health.

On Tuesday one was released from hospital into the community after a court in Rotterdam ruled he had been wrongly placed in the deportation centre. Afghan national Sayam Uddin Nessar had also been separated from other inmates, which is against agreements, the court pointed out.

The NRC says Nessar has lived in the Netherlands for 20 years and his entire family live here legally. He reportedly forgot to renew his residency permit on time and now faces deportation to Afghanistan.

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