Testimony from someone who has spent a month and a half at centre 127bis. They report that the guards threaten people with punishment if they go on hunger strike and that they received no information about what was happening during two deportation attempts. This person is in a deportation reserve group made-up of several people of the same nationality. Their lawyers are not warned before deportation attempts.
Listen to the testimony (FR) :
Right now things are really shit here. We are all here and we can’t go outside.
How long have you not been able to go outside for?
Not for a long time. The conditions here are really horrible.
Have you been at the centre for a long time?
Yes, for about a month and a half in the same place. People say that even in here it is a good idea to go on hunger strike so that things get better. However some people are ill so they have to eat to take their medicine.
So have you started a hunger strike or not?
We started but they told us that if we did it here they would call the police. But if you go to the isolation block, block 5, there you don’t eat or drink for 24 hours. Nothing.
So in the centre there is a block where they lock people up to punish them and they don’t give them anything to eat or drink?
Yes, even if you have an appointment with a lawyer or with someone from the immigration office or even if you have a flight. They will lock you up there. That has happened to me two or three times.
Have they already tried to deport you?
Yes, they’ve tried twice… and then they don’t tell you anything. They’ll tell you there is a special flight, and then they’ll come with hundreds of police officers. Without even telling you what is happening they force you to come with them, they hit you. I even have a friend who called me after being deported and told me they’d hit him so hard that he is really ill, he is in hospital.
Because he was deported on one of these special flights?
Yes, they nearly beat him to death.
Has that happened to you too?
Yes, twice! Twice!
And why didn’t you leave with the others?
They told me that I am in the reserve group because there are lots of people. There were nearly 17 people. If there are lots of people they put them all together. They are still planning to carry out deportations by nationality at 127 bis. When you reach a certain number of people they bring in the military flights and use violence to send you back to Africa.
OK, so they have told you that you’ll be on the next group flight?
More or less, yes.
And since then you have received no information about what will happen?
Not yet… They don’t tell people what is happening. They don’t keep us in the loop.
When I came here I claimed asylum and they took my belongings. They made me do a first interview. Afterwards they told to wait and that they would get back to me with a decision. Their response was that I had to go back as soon as they had the decision from the Immigration Office etc etc…so they only really tell you that you have to leave that’s it.
So you were transferred from Merksplas to 127bis?
And at 127bis a lot of police officers came to get you?
And why was your flight cancelled?
There was some sort of problem with the aeroplane which meant we couldn’t fly. They sent me back to the centre.
So you stayed for an extra night at 127bis?
That’s how they put it…but an aeroplane can’t have problems like that…maybe they wanted to collect more people to deport us en masse.
And did they tell your lawyers they wanted to deport you?
No. They don’t call for the lawyers. It is only when you really insist that they give you permission to call your lawyer.
And now are there are a lot of Guineans at the centre?
Yes there are lots of us here. There are three of us who are from Guinea because it is big here. There are several different blocks.
You don’t know who is in the other blocks?
The others are in the other blocks. You can’t see the people in those blocks. When we go outside they go back in and vice versa…that’s how it is.