From April 2022, foreigners who are to be placed in administrative detention in central Switzerland will be housed in Zurich airport prison. With the exception of the canton of Obwalden, all central Swiss cantons have now signed a corresponding service agreement with the canton of Zurich.
The airport prison in Kloten.Image: KEYSTONE
So far, the foreigners concerned have been housed in separate departments within the existing cantonal prisons, the Central Switzerland Conference of Police Directors announced on Wednesday evening. This practice has been repeatedly criticized by the Federal Supreme Court.
For this reason, the central Swiss cantons involved have reserved 20 places according to a notification in the center for administrative detention for foreigners (previously the airport prison) in the canton of Zurich. In this way, the federal legal requirements for legally compliant accommodation are to be met in the future and professional care is to be ensured throughout. In addition, the cantonal prison infrastructure is to be relieved of this “demanding form of detention” and the multifunctionality in the central Swiss prisons is to be minimized.
The Canton of Lucerne had already signed the agreement in December 2021. He had closed his deportation prison in the Wauwilermoos prison at the end of the year. The canton of Obwalden meanwhile sees no need for action, as stated in the message on Wednesday. The canton stopped the task at Lucerne a long time ago.
The canton of Zurich is converting the existing airport prison into a center for the execution of administrative detention under the law on foreign nationals with around 130 places for the admission of people as of April 2022, as it was previously called.
The cantons are obliged to carry out administrative detention under the Aliens and Integration Act (including preparatory detention, detention pending deportation or enforcement detention) to a reasonable extent and to make the relevant institutions available. The grouping with persons in pre-trial detention or in prison is to be avoided.
Administrative detention under immigration law is detention that is not based on a criminal offence. Persons who are expelled from Switzerland but do not leave the country themselves are held in administrative custody until they leave the country. The most common form of administrative detention is detention pending deportation for rejected asylum seekers. (saw/sda)