Justice chancellor: Airport transit conditions must be improved ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

At Tallinn Airport.
At Tallinn Airport. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

Foreigners who are forcibly expelled and held in the transit area of Tallinn Airport must be provided with good quality accommodation, washing and catering facilities, the justice chancellor said.

For foreigners who are to be forcibly expelled, have an invalid visa or have been detained due to a Schengen area entry ban, the waiting time for departure in the transit area may turn out to be several days, Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise said.

Those detained in the airport and waiting for their flight out of Estonia can do so in three areas - the transit area, that is the territory for flights exiting the Schengen area, the two one-person holding cells of the Police and Border Guard Board, or three rooms that the airport charges a fee for.

These rooms are not suitable for detention for more than 24 hours because they do not have the necessary conditions. It is also not possible to detain a larger number of foreigners at Tallinn Airport because there are not enough detention facilities. 

The airport transit area is more or less suitable for waiting during the day or for a few hours at night. However, sofas and chairs in a public place cannot be considered a suitable bed when a person is held overnight.

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The three paid for rooms at the airport have good sleeping facilities, but the cost of the rooms, which is between €70 and €100 a day, can prove to be too expensive for many of the detained foreigners. Should a family with children happen to stay in these rooms under exceptional circumstances, age-appropriate sleeping facilities, such as a safe bed, should also be provided for the children.

There should also be toiletries and hot food for sale in the transit area, as there currently are in the Schengen area. If the foreigner held does not have the money to purchase the essentials, the basic hygiene items must be provided by the Police and Border Guard Board. In any case, the Police and Border Guard Board must be prepared to provide food for the detained foreigner, the justice chancellor said.

Foreigners who have been detained at the airport must also be given access to the outside world, reading material or the television, and the right to be in the open air once a day.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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