di Francesco Musolino
Bari, July 3 - A 26-year-old Kurdish asylum seeker was killed overnight Tuesday in a detention center for immigrants in the southern city of Bari after a fight broke out among detainees, authorities said. Police said that the man was found dead when they arrived on the scene after being called by workers at the center and that he had knife wounds and numerous lesions on his body. Italy has three kinds of so-called temporary centers for immigrants in the country without authorization - Centers for Identification and Deportation (CIE), Centers for Asylum Seekers (CARA) and Acceptance Centers (CDA). CIEs descend from so-called Temporary Detention Centers first established in 1998 by the center-left government under the so-called Turco-Napolitano anti-immigration law. In 2002, the center-right Berlusconi government passed a similar but much more restrictive law, while in 2011 detention times were extended to a maximum of 18 months, nine times longer than in the previously. Similar detention practices are widespread across Europe, and the EU legal framework supports both restricting illegal migration and integrating immigrants who do so legally. Being an undocumented immigrant in Italy is a criminal offense, something that has been criticized by human rights groups. A 2011 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) complained about the conditions of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers detained in Italy. The interior ministry defines CDAs as "structures to guarantee assistance to irregular foreigners found on national territory". "Acceptance into the centre is strictly limited to the time necessary to establish identity and the legitimacy of (the foreigner's) presence in Italy or to prepare deportation," the ministry Website writes. There are five CDAs in Italy: Lampedusa which has 381 places, Cagliari Elmas with 220 places, Caltanissetta (360), Otranto and Ragusa Pozzallo (172). The interior ministry specifies that CARA are structures "in which immigrants seeking asylum are invited to stay for 20 to 35 days" while they are being identified and the procedure for refugee status is begun or scrapped. CIE instead are detention centers and serve almost exclusively as a holding pen for immigrants waiting to be expelled. There are 13 CIEs in scattered throughout Italy.