The power of life and death

06/02/2015

Achille Gnapi is an Ivorian political opponent to the current regime. He had to flee the country with his family because their lifes were threatened. Some of them are now in Ghana under subsidiary protection, another one requested asylum in China.
Achille came to Belgium at the end of 2006 to request asylum. After his 4th request which had been refused because his status of refugee had been questioned, an appeal had been introduced in front of the Aliens Litigation Council (ALC). The appeal was reviewed by the latter on January 29th 2015, despite the fact that neither the lawyer nor M. Gnapi had been noticed on time about this hearing.

On the same day, he got an order to leave the territory for the Ivory Coast, although the ALC had not yet reacted on it. His return had been planned for Saturday January 31st at 2 p.m. M. Gnapi refused this second deportation attempt.

The situation of so-called ‘pro-Gbagbo’ political prisoners in the Ivory Coast is one of the trickiest and it was the object of many NGO reports such as HRW, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL and even the Special UN Rapporteur on Human Rights, which all concluded to inhuman and degrading treatments, and to a justice of the ‘winners’ that only targets one and only camp.

The return of M. Gnapi as rejected asylum seeker might cause severe or irreversible harm.

Here is an excerpt of a report by Amnesty International drafted in 2013, entitled ‘the winners’ law’, which denounces the repression of political opponents (or any other person deemed as one):
‘These persons have been detained sometimes for long periods of time in detention centres not recognised as such, where many were victims of torture and mistreatments. Some of them were convicted, often on the basis of confessions extracted under duress, of an endless list of similar charges, notably offenses against national defense, attacks or plot against the State authority and constitution of armed bands. Others were released without charges after several weeks of arbitrary detention and sometimes after having paid ransoms to their jailers.’
http://www.amnesty.org/fr/library/asset/AFR31/001/2013/fr/028f70d7-8f37-4a40-ad71-71c9e8369a41/afr310012013fr.pdf

He will have been at the Bruges closed centre for 4 months and a half. When being asked about what happens in the centre, here is what he answers: ‘Here, you have no right, you are always wrong because you are a prisoner, a foreigner. This destroys your mind.’

His family and acquaintances refuse that Achille be deported, all testifying about the obvious dangers he’ll be exposed to in the Ivory Coast.

Once again, the Foreigners Office and the Commissionner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRA) abuse a power of life and death over the people, seeing to it that they are totally destroyed.
Between the children deprived of their mother, the Congolese doomed to the same fate as M. Gnapi, M. Larbaoui with is double penalty that became a triple and even a quadruple penalty, between all those people who tried to commit suicide in the closed centres and those who succeeded, between those who died when going back home like Aref, a young Afghan… the Foreigners Office and the CGRA are not yet at the end of their accomplishments.

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