Italian Detention Center Ponte Galeria Under Pressure to Close

Photo: Nicholas Gemini./

Human rights organizations have criticized Italy’s immigration detention facilities as havens for abuses of human rights. Following the tragic death of a 19-year-old Guinean who allegedly committed suicide last month, calls to close a migrant detention center in Rome have intensified, according to

Ousmane Sylla’s body was discovered at the Ponte Galeria detention facility (CPR), which is situated outside of Rome. Although there is no repatriation agreement between Italy and Guinea, Sylla’s country of origin, it had been reported that he had been ordered to leave the country.

Infamously Cruel Circumstances

Detainees who threw objects at police and set mattresses on fire were incensed by Sylla’s death. There have reportedly been 14 arrests by law enforcement. After Sylla’s death, six other inmates at the same facility attempted suicide, according to Marco Stufano, the head of Rome’s prefect office. The living conditions in these migrant detention centers, where undocumented migrants are held for protracted periods of time without formal charges and made to endure conditions worse than in actual prisons, have long been denounced by human rights organizations. When Italian legislator Riccardo Magi paid a visit to the center on Sunday, he revealed that Sylla had taken his own life, expressing his desperation at not being able to return home to be with his family.

“These centers are black holes for rights and humanity,” Magi told La Repubblica television, calling for them to be closed. “Most people who are being held here will never be repatriated.”

The Silent Truth of Ponte Galeria

Migrants in the center sewed their mouths shut in 2014 in protest of the appalling living circumstances. Media reports state that thirteen Moroccan men used a tiny needle and blanket thread to sew their lips together. Ten migrant detention centers exist in Italy, a country that has adopted a tough stance against irregular migration. These centers are intended to serve as short-term holding facilities for foreign nationals facing expulsion due to criminal or other reasons, or for migrants whose asylum applications have been denied.

To discourage would-be refugees and their traffickers from trying to enter the country by crossing the Mediterranean, Meloni’s government has increased the period of time migrants can be detained at the centers to 18 months.

We wrote, Italian and Albanian prime ministers Giorgia Meloni and Edi Rama, agreed that Italy will begin sending immigrants who have been rescued in the Mediterranean Sea to Albania from this spring on.

According to the agreement, the Italian government will pay for the accommodation of immigrants who are stranded in Albania after being caught in the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, it states that within 90 days of the protocol’s entry into force, Italy will pay Albania 16.5 million euros in advance. The document states that these funds will be used to cover a range of service costs. Furthermore, the guarantee fund requires the Italian side to open a specific current account at a second-tier bank.

It is clearly visible that the EU wants to close its borders to the people on the move and wants to curb migration in third countries, such as the Maghreb countries.


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