There are hundreds locked away in closed centres because they allegedly “don’t have the right papers”. Many are desperate.
Some go on hunger strike, others try to kill themselves or to escape. They feel abandoned and lonely in this fight against their imprisonment and ask for support in their fight.
This testimony was gathered by the CRER http://regularisation.canalblog.com/
How are you Sow? Is the solitary confinement not too hard?
– Well, there are a couple of things to disclose. Are you taking notes? The detention, the closed centre in Bruges, and we would like to pass on our demands…
Sow does not have any self-pity. He is at his work in the little parlour of the closed centre in Vottem.
“They came on 19 September at 5:30 in the morning with about 200 policemen, dogs and a helicopter. The police entered by the windows on the top floor thanks to the helicopter. We then opened the door downstairs because this police operation looked really violent. If there were people killed or injured it would have been easy to claim they were terrorists.
The day before we had a meeting in the house to find a solution for the last inhabitants of the occupied building, who were about to leave the place. We wanted to discuss whether some could join our occupied house at Ebola. Most of us left after the meeting, but I could not, because it was too late to get to my shelter.
It was actually planned to meet the authorities of Molenbeek on Friday. The socialists had told us that before that official meeting there was just a tiny risk for us…
But they want to scare people in order to close all occupied houses, that are our bastions. They want to stop our demonstrations, our last remaining weapons.
I would like to know who gave the order for this raid? I accuse the Bourgmestre (= mayor) of Molenbeek, Rosemont, and Francken – I think they gave the order. Rosemont was disappointed by the poor results of the raid… They wanted to arrest 45 of us. I urge that they should be iterrogated…
Now I know what it is like to live in a closed centre. It is important for those who fight for the rights of sans-papiers to know about this and to be able to disclose these informations.
In the closed centre in Bruges, we collected our 7 demands in a text book, but it would be necessary to reword it in correct French, because, you know, I am a Maths-teacher and French is not my strongest point.
So far, 31 detainees in Bruges have signed our demands… What is most shocking in Bruges are the dormitories. There are 20 people in each dormitory and the toilets are really dirty. We would like to have some cleaning products to clean them. We have to go to bed at 22:00 and wake up at 7:00, there is no internet access possible, but the worst are the medications.
I used to have a treatment, which cannot be disrupted. But they would not give me my medicines. I asked to see the doctor, but he neither did not want to give them to me. I said that I will file a complaint against him. He told me: “Buzz off!”
Later, I received the medication, but I saw that it’s not the same that I used to take. They never wanted to show me the packaging. So, basically, you have no idea of what you are taking. I did not take the medication. I wanted to keep them in order to be able to disclose them later, but when I was relocated I was searched and so they found them. Most detainees in Bruges become crazy and once they are released they are no more able to disclose what happened to them. They want us to be unable to testify. If they are deported or if they take drugs and those are taken abruptly away from them, they may commit suicide… A country may authorise deportations, but it cannot destroy human beigns… This is intolerable.
Some people stay for a very long time in those closed centres. They should be allowed to learn languages, as there are some who get liberated. This would be very useful.
The document with our demands – I signed it in the folowing name: Sow, the coordinator of the collectif Ebola, member of the International Coalition of Sans-papiers and Migrants, of the Coordination of Sans-papiers in Belgium, trade unionist. Is this the reason why I was relocated to a secured wing in Vottem? That I am in solitary confinement? In Bruges I was assaulted by another detainee. They said they drew by lot who would have to be relocated…
Here in Vottem, you see which medication you get. But I am in solitary confinement and I have no contacts with other detainees. I receive food four times a day, mostly bread, but not for lunch. I may go out for 1h in the morning and 1h in the afternoon.
I need the support of others. They want to break my spirit…”
Interview with his lawyer on TV Sans papiers : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iLfGd71y7w&feature=youtu.be