Lisbon airport foreigner holding centre closed until April 30th

  • Lusa
  • 8 April 2020

The minister of internal administration announced that the foreigners and border agency Temporary Installation Centre at Lisbon airport will be closed until April 30th.

Portugal’s foreigners and border agency Temporary Installation Centre at Lisbon airport will be closed until April 30th, when new mechanisms will be approved and “the rules changed”, the minister of internal administration announced on Wednesday.

“I have ordered the closure of this centre [Lisbon Airport Temporary Installation Centre], it will be closed to anyone at least until April 30th. The last citizen who was there was sent to social security,” Eduardo Cabrita told MPs of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees.

In a hearing requested by the Left Bloc, the minister is being heard on the case involving three members of the foreigners and borders service (SEF) under house arrest for suspicions of the murder of a Ukrainian citizen in the Lisbon airport centre.

Eduardo Cabrita said that mechanisms will be approved to separate asylum seekers or international protection from necessary border control and stay for short periods” by April 30th.

Eduardo Cabrita said that he will also propose the renewal of the agreement with Médicos dos Mundo, which guarantees health care in this centre, and presented a proposal to the Portuguese bar association to create “a new regulation for more effective monitoring”.

The minister explained that the new director of SEF at the airport will present the proposal to the bar association by next week.

Eduardo Cabrita said that in 2019, 5,300 foreigners passed through SEF’s temporary installation centre at Lisbon airport, 382 of whom were asylum seekers, 467 were considered inadmissible in the framework of border control and 200 by judicial determination in the framework of expulsion proceedings.

“This centre, which has very poor conditions, cannot have asylum seekers, I have always said that, so we decided to move to an autonomous centre in Almoçageme [near Sintra] for this type of applicants,” he said.

The alleged crime was allegedly committed at the Temporary Installation Centre at Lisbon airport on the 12th after the victim allegedly caused some disturbances there and attempted to enter Portugal illegally, the police said the three SEF inspectors are “presumed to be responsible for the death”.

Following this murder, the Internal Administration Inspectorate opened an inquiry into SEF’s Lisbon Border Directorate, and Eduardo Cabrita also ordered disciplinary proceedings to be opened against the director and deputy director of Lisbon foreigners and border agency, who have since been dismissed from their posts.

Eduardo Cabrita also said that he had appointed the inspector who was SEF’s liaison officer at the Ministry of Internal Affairs as the new director of SEF at Lisbon airport.