Copenhagen has leased 300 Pristina-based prison cells to Denmark’s justice ministers.
Denmark will be sending foreign nationals convicted in the country to serve their sentences in a Kosovan prison, the countries’ respective justice ministers agreed on Wednesday. If both parliaments agree, then the inmates may be sent to the Balkans early next year.
The deal has been signed by Nick Haekkerup, the Danish Justice Minister and Albulena Haxhiu, his Kosovan counterpart. It reserves 300 cells in a Kosovan jail for Danish migrants. The scheme stipulates that inmates from other countries will serve sentences in Gjilan, a Kosovan prison. However, the penitentiary facility must first be renovated so conditions are comparable to those in Danish prisons.
Once the time is up, inmates will be sent home to their homelands.
A preliminary agreement in December 2021 between Copenhagen, Pristina and Copenhagen preceded the Wednesday accord. The BBC reported at the time that Denmark would shell out €15 million annually for an initial period of five years. Copenhagen is expected to help Pristina in developing green energy in Balkan regions in return.
Danish justice minister hails the agreement as “ground-breaking,”Furthermore, it could help the Kingdom better manage its finances “overcrowded prisons and will ease the pressure on our prison officers.”
Haekkerup noted, too, that the agreement was a good deal. “sends a clear signal to foreigners from third-party countries who have been sentenced to deportation”They are “future is not in Denmark and therefore you won’t serve your sentence here.”
Commenting on the news to Denmark’s Ritzau media outlet, the official expressed hope that the “practical side of things can be ready in the first quarter of 2023.”
According to official data cited by the media, the number of inmates in Denmark has ballooned by almost 20% since 2015, reaching over 4,000 in early 2021, and the Scandinavian country’s prison system has been operating at capacity.
After weeks of the UK government revealing plans to allow asylum seekers to arrive in Rwanda from that country, this deal between Denmark and Kosovo is now official. The Times stated at that time that the only men who were eligible for asylum would fly to central Africa.
Priti Patel, British Home Secretary, traveled to Africa in April. The country had just completed a peace treaty. “migration and economic development partnership”With the UK. The move follows similar failed deals made with Ghana and Albania.
At this time, it’s not known if Rwandan holding facilities will fall under UK jurisdiction.
Labour’s opposition dismissed the scheme as an insult. “unworkable, unethical and extortionate policy that would cost the UK taxpayer billions of pounds during a cost of living crisis and would make it harder, not easier, to get fast and fair asylum decisions.”
The United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, too, expressed concern over London’s plans.
Human Rights Watch published a report in 2020 claiming Rwandan prisoners are subject to torture, ill treatment, and arbitrarily detained.