Dozens of refugees in the Republic of Cyprus have been denied access to asylum, with reports saying they have been transported to a deportation facility while the nature of their crimes was still unknown.
During a House census committee hearing this week, migration officials said thirty-three persons deemed a threat to public safety in 2021 had their access to asylum denied and have been transferred to a deportation facility.
It was not clear whether the individuals were asylum seekers or applicants but local media said the official in the meeting shared immigration data in general and said specifically all 33 were “involved in criminal activity, drug cases, and criminal organizations in Cyprus or abroad.”
The 33 individuals have been processed through the state’s penitentiary system and have been transported to a detention facility in Menoyia where authorities will begin deportation proceedings.
Police get notified when a person is a public threat and officers then contact Migration for further steps, but 'if it’s common assault, we don't call Migration, the individual goes to court'
But it was not clear what crimes were involved, with daily Reporter saying it was unclear how many may have been linked to terrorism investigations.
According to police deputy Christakis Mavris, law enforcement authorities get notified when an individual is a public threat, with officers then contacting Migration for further steps.
“But if it’s something like else, like common assault, we are not going to go to Migration, the individual will appear before a court,” Mavris said.
Last year two male detainees who escaped from Menoyia were later apprehended by police, who told Knews they were not suspected of any crimes but were facing deportation proceedings.
In another case, the Cyprus Refugee Council previously called on authorities to release a Nigerian college student who was being detained and facing deportation after he was arrested with 0.3 grams of cannabis in his possession.
In December 2021, there was debate over a terrorism scare in local media, after a Twitter post in Cyprus showed youths from Nigeria being administered an oath of allegiance to separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra.
IPOB denies being a terrorism organization, saying it is fighting for freedom and against corruption back home while also equating Nigerian security forces to terrorists.