A total of 221 persons were registered at the “Agios Nikolaos” apartment complex in Chloraka, based on checks carried out between August 22 and 28, said Deputy Commander of Operations and Spokesman of the Aliens and Immigration Service Petros Zeniou.

The initial number was higher as some persons were duplicated, he added. He said that during the checks, two people who were illegally on the territory of the Republic were identified, arrested and the procedures of their deportation are under way. Of the 221 persons, 219 were legitimate as asylum seekers or holding subsidiary protection status, he said. He added that 36 of the 219 asked to be transferred to Kofinou. In his statements, Zeniou said that for about two years the controls in Chloraka have been strengthened, focusing on the identification of migrants residing illegally in the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, their arrest and deportation. Regarding the actions of the Police for asylum seekers, Mr. Zeniou said that “we have international obligations, obligations under the Law, so that the procedure for examining their asylum is followed and there are other provisions of the Legislation.” He also pointed out that the Police, with respect for human rights and the provisions of the Legislation, do everything possible and pass through its hands in order to remove those who reside illegally in the territory of the Republic. For those who are either asylum seekers or are under subsidiary protection status, due to the unstable situation in Syria, they are legally residing and given appropriate advice regarding their behaviour, he added. Asked about this, Mr. Zeniou said that in the last week they made recordings to find out who lives inside the apartment complex so that the competent authorities can be informed to see the real problem, if they have housing or if they have nowhere to stay. The apartment complex, Mr. Zeniou continued, is large and there are peculiarities regarding the guarding and surveillance of its facilities, while there are no healthy conditions for their stay, as he said. He said foreigners staying in the complex were advised to try to find places to stay without exposing themselves to similar situations. The issue has many aspects and concerns not only the police, but also other bodies, he added. As the Aliens and Immigration Service, he continued, they have been carrying out checks for two years, and referred to the degree of difficulty that exists to control such a complex with this gathering of people. In relation to who was involved in the incidents, Zeniou said that the matter is being examined while investigations are being carried out by the Pafos Police Authority to secure testimony. He pointed out that those identified by the authorities as staying illegally on the territory of the Republic are followed by the legal procedures for their removal from the Republic of Cyprus. For those who are found to have the status of asylum seeker or subsidiary protection, specific procedures are followed, which are governed by international law, i.e. examination of their asylum application and non-deportation until an application is examined. CNA