18/12/13 02:25 CET
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Footage showing migrants at the Island of Lampedusa reception centre being sprayed for scabies has caused outrage in Italy.
The images, filmed on a mobile phone, appear to show detainees being forced to strip naked in mixed company while workers hose them down, outdoors and in the freezing cold.
Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta was questioned about the treatment which politicians have described as degrading.
“Regarding Lampedusa, these are extremely grave pictures, that shocked us, and most of all me. The government intends to conduct a thorough inquiry, to verify and if necessary punish those responsible,” Letta said.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has in the past called the conditions in Lampedusa unacceptable. The centre is designed to hold some 250 people but often four or five times that many are housed there.
Some of those in the video were survivors of October’s disaster when a a boat sank near the island drowning over 360 people.
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