New law of the detention regime After the new law, concerning the treatment of asylum seekers, was implemented in July 2013, the situation in Hungary has become even more threatening for asylum seekers. It allows the detention of generally all asylum seekers during their procedure in so called “closed camps”, which are in fact prisons.
Detention up to 18 months The maximum period of detention is 6 month. After this time, if the asylum claim is rejected, another 12 months of detention is possible (in alien prison, although there is no experience with this yet, because the law is quite new). In the worst case, it means one can end up in detention for up to 18 month. So far we have no idea what are criteria for the actual imprisonment, nor the exact accusation. The biggest number of detainees is of those who got deported via Dublin II from other EU countries. Also many were brought to these “closed camps” directly from the border when they entered Hungary. In praxis, there is no logic in the execution of this law. It’s not foreseeable who is send to the “closed camp” and who is send to the“open camp”. Court hearings which are just a farce Every two month a court hearing should take place which should decide about a prolonging of the imprisonment. Actually, it should be the chance to get released before the maximum 6 month period, but in reality these hearings are not taking place at all, or if they take place, they are rather a formality than a real hearing. Till now, nobody had been released. Lack of access to legal support and resistance Also just very few people inside these prisons are in contact with lawyers. The resistance inside these “closed camps” evoked in form of several hunger strikes in Nyirbator and Békéscsaba detentions. In Békéscsaba the revolt went further in November, when the detainees tried to set the prison on fire. “Voluntary” returns to Serbia A huge number of asylum seekers cancel their asylum claim in Hungary and are afterwards deported to Serbia via bilateral readmission agreement.They were blackmailed with long term detention up to 6 month or even 18 month in order to convince them to “voluntarily” return to Serbia. After their deportation they are again imprisoned for (usually) another 5 days in Subotica town prison. With the release from the prison they receive a paper telling them to leave the country within 10 days. There is the possibility for them to (again) seek asylum in Serbia. There is the danger of chain-deportations – further to Macedonia, as it happened earlier. Right now there are no new similar cases known. Testimonies of an Afghan family In the end of October, we met an Afghan family with five children close to Subotica. The youngest of them is six months old. They explained us that three days ago, they got deported from Hungary, because they didn’t want to claim asylum when they were caught by the Hungarian police. Still on the Hungarian side they were put into jail for three days, even the small children. After the deportation to Serbia they were not sent to prison, but given a paper saying they have to leave the country within ten days.