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Milan migrant detention facility seized

December 17, 2023
Migrants say they were forced to eat expired food and live in squalid conditions at the concentration camp in Milan. The center in question was confiscated. The Milan Public Prosecutor's Office has ordered an emergency preventive seizure against Martinina SRL, the company that manages the detention center (CPR) in Milan's Via Corelli. The attack occurred on December 1, when migrants living in CPR were found not receiving medical care and eating expired food. If this provision is confirmed by the preliminary investigating judge, a court-appointed administrator will be appointed to manage the facility. Those who are under investigation are the de-facto and legal administrators managing the facility that was seized. According to the prosecution, fraud was committed "in the execution of the procurement contract" with "malicious and misleading intents" making it appear to be "in compliance with the commitments entered into" to guarantee migrants adequate shelter. According to the charges, the two administrators allegedly produced "forged" documents including the signatures of deceased persons, "the existence" of services "in compliance when signing the contract with the prefecture (…) which in reality were never put in place or if they were they were vastly insufficient". The company won a 4.5 million-euro contract bid to manage the facility in October 2022. The prefecture in Milan explained that "during the last months management issues had emerged" in Via Corelli and an administrative procedure had been launched against the managers in charge "which ended with the highest sanction possible".

Migrants shown in the video appear to be 'treated as animals'

"Could you smell the stink or not!? Do you eat this food? (…) Even a dog would throw it away and not eat it… we are animals!" These are the words of a migrant at the CPR in Via Corelli, heard in one of many videos collected by a lawyer from the volunteer association NAGA. In another video, a migrant said the food at the center had "worms". The migrants, write the public prosecutors, state that "the conditions they were in had been ongoing for a long time, a situation which the staff claimed to have no say in." Another migrant said: "One of us vomited! You see as soon as he threw up what he ate!" Yet another migrant added: "Not even dogs live like this!" The proceedings also show other videos and images depicting sub-standard conditions in the center's bathrooms and bedding and migrants forced to sleep on the floor. Other chat messages show a migrant writing to a lawyer of the NAGA association stating: "I want to die" followed up by "a picture of his [the migrant's] lips sewn closed, presumably in a sign of protest" but there are also images of instances of "self-harm", "epileptic episodes" and "suicide attempts". The environment at the CPR, write the public prosecutors, is "One which is essentially not accessible and closed to the outside world, the only way to have a realistic view (at least during this stage) of the center was to look at the "visual witness accounts" that we were given access to, as these were produced by those living in this environment".

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