“What happens here is state secret”: News from the centres 8/4/2013

 Even if an important solidarity rises up between prisoners, we seldom come to hear of real actions to be set up from the inside. Certain centres are very repressive and it is becoming increasingly hard to know what is going on inside because detainees are confronted with harsh measures of controle, intimidations and punishments if they dare to organise themselves or even speak to the ‘outside’.
Hunger strikes are started regularly, but quickly aborted as these people are put in prison, transferred somewhere else or even deported. This to ease tensions in the centres.

All testimonies that follow come from only partial contacts with prisoners in certain centres and show only part of the current situation seen the problems getting in touch with people ‘on the inside’.

The detainees report the presence of true racist staff in the centres. We also received appeals from guards who wanted to denounce certain individual cases.

Humanitarian grounds often remain the easiest angle to denounce deportations and imprisonment as associates, others and even guards feel. Is is easier for them to try and soften the system than to call for abolition (with the resignation of all guards???)

Even more, when reading between the lines, some should be released and others deserve to be in the centres or on a plane. It strenghtens the division between prisoners and applies the principle of good and bad immigrants.
This measure allows nauseating procedures and murdering checks at the borders of Europe or on the territory of Belgium or Europe to stay into existence.

Good news

During the night of 5th to 6th April, two detainees escaped the 127bis closed centre by cutting the wire fences. A new deportation attempt had been set for the two of them. According to our sources, they have not been taken back.

Following frenetic arrests by the Foreigners Office and its Sefor service (FO service closely working with the communes), some detainees who are better defended are released after 2, 3 or 4 months of detention.

For e.g, Mr B. whose flight had been cancelled following some lobby/pressure on Air Algeria, was released after three days of hunger strike. Actually, they can no longer deport him. The Foreigners Office nevertheless tried to deport him twice and to prolong his detention. This example clearly shows the spirit of “deportation at all costs” by the Foreigners Office.

A man from Kosovo, father of a three months Belgian baby, was released after two months of detention.

A man from Albania having lived in Belgium for 12 years got released after one month of detention.

A man from Cameroon has experienced four deportation attempts and is still detained in Bruges. He fears a new attempt in the coming days.

How many fall through the net and are deported?

Arrests are going full speed

Arrests during many raids,
Arrests during STIB or de Lijn daily routine controls,
Arrests at the airport : one woman with her two children came to visit his husband who works in Belgium, she was arrested at the airport and brought with her two children to the closed centre Caricole. She chose to go back to Serbia instead of inflicting this detention to her kids.
Arrests by civilians on the street (watch out, they are very discreet!),
Very frequent arrests at 5 a.m at home,
Arrests at the Foreigners Office during an ‘appointment’,
Arrests…

Detentions are longer and longer (up to 8 months)

Prolongations of detentions by two months for doubtful reasons (for a so-called deportation refusal for example although there was no deportation attempt) are systematic.

Two detainees report the presence on 5th April of at least one family with children for 3 days in the 127bis closed centre. They are appalled at the idea that children are put in prison!

A man WANTS to go back to his country: he has been detained for four months and is regularly transferred from one centre to another. His is being told to wait!

Violence in the centres : ‘what happens here is state secret’

On 15th of March, a man coming back from Merksplas… http://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/urgent-news-8th-april-2013/

A man from Afghanistan is detained in 127bis: on 8th of April he learnt that his appeal got rejected. He banged his head several times into the heavy security door and fell unconscious. An ambulance came to pick him up.

A man from Guinea was arrested at the Foreigners Office in the context of a notification for an interview. He was brought in a van to the closed centre of Bruges. In the van he could smell an odour of gaz and could not breathe anymore. He fainted. He says it was real torture!

Collective deportations to Guinea? http://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/urgent-news-8th-april-2013/

Text messages

By a screw:
“For M.: 31/03 end of deadline. If no news this Tuesday, warn the lawyer that technical irregularity possible”

By detainees:
“I don’t want to be deported and to leave my (3 months) baby here. I don’t want to be deported to Kosovo where I was not even born”.
“Miss Solidarity, the fight is going on here too. thanks!”
“If they bring me back I’m dead”.
“One can not separate parents from their children (a man detained with his four Belgian children)”
“We are in the death row.”
“What is this for a country?”

Testimonies

“What happens here is state secret”.

“We are all becoming psychopaths”.

“8 or 9 guards come to take the detainee with no warning, they scotch-tape him and tie him up to bring him to the isolation cell. The day after, several police officers come to pick him up, always by force, to bring him to the airport! I have seen this nine times in two months in the wing I’m staying in!”

“One prisoner taken by force by 8 police men to an embassy to get a free pass”.

“Isolation cell is provocation”.

Detainees’ serious doubts on free passes:

“A lot of embassies refuse to deliver free passes, but many are being deported with false free passes” according to several detainees.

Lawyers are very often put in question. Some detainees refuse to call one because they do not see any interest in doing so. Many complain about lawyers “who just fill their pockets with money”.

“One should post all this on Facebook and the Internet!”.
A young man was arrested and brought to the closed centre of Vottem a few days ago. He is totally stunned. He didn’t know it existed. He wants by all means to spread the word that these are prisons!

“A man with us here is extremely ill. We think he is going to die. He already fell twice since I’ve been here. He has serious health problems. He introduced a medical regularisation request which was rejected. He is going to die, I’m telling you, he makes me cry.”
“Each time I eat I throw up”.
“Everthing is very dirty here”.
“Food is disgusting. A dog would not eat it.”
“Toilets are blocked.”

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