Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 22:30:37 -0500 (CDT)
From: MAHA <>
Article: 70922
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
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Close Pabrade detention camp—release the detainees!

MAHA News Special, 26 July 1999

Solidarity with the imprisoned refugees in Lithuania!

Thirteen Somalis had spent three months in the dark, three metres underground in horrifying conditions. They never saw the light of day except during the daily exercise hour. They suffered from eye problems. It was terribly hot. The air was heavy, unbreathable. The place made you claustrophobic. The Somalis were in the midst of their second hunger strike.

This is taken from a 1995 report by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Is it about Campsfield? Or Harmondsworth? Or some local prison?

It is about none of these places. It is about Yanaua detention centre in Lithuania.

This raises an obvious question—what are Somalian refugees doing in a Lithuanian detention centre on the Baltic Sea? There is a two-fold answer. First they were double-crossed by criminal racketeers who, for a fortune, promised to get them into mainland Europe. Second the countries of the European Union are intent on creating a ring of buffer or client states which will operate as a first line of exclusion from Fortress Europe. The Nordic countries, in particular Sweden, Norway and Denmark, are acting as financiers for the erection of immigration controls around the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

All refugees awaiting expulsion are now kept in Pabrade prison camp. The only black people in Lithuania appear to be in this camp. The Lithuanian Red Cross has established an excellent project to support these refugees—The Legal Assistance Project for Refugees. In 1998 the Project reported handcuffs and gas being used as a form of punishment. It also gave examples of a Sri Lankian refugee being beaten in front of his family because he refused an order to remove garbage from the camp and another Sri Lankian being beaten by several guards because he wanted to use the telephone.


We are asking everyone opposed to racism and immigration controls to:

(1) Write and protest about the prison camp to the Lithuanian Embassy, 84 Gloucester Place, London WIH 3HN (fax 0171 486 6403) in the UK or to the Lithuanian Embassy in your country.

(2) Write and protest to the Commissar (Aligaatas Varnelis) at the Foreigner's Registration Centre, Pabrade, Svencionys District, Lithuania.

(3) For more information/offers of help write to: The Legal Assistance Project for Refugees, Gedimino Avenue, 2600 Vilnius

(4) In the UK contact The Campaign To Close Down Pabrade, c/o GMIAU, 400 Cheetham Hill Rd, Manchester M8 9LE