Audiotestimony from closed centre in Bruges “Our fate is between your hands” 08/04/2019
“I am in the Bruges detention center since March 30th 2020. Since I have arrived here, I can’t buy shampoo, I can’t buy shower gel.
The management, the guardians and the inmates do not wear any masks and nobody respect the corona measures. The 1.5 meter distance between us is not respected, we all live together in one group. There is a room where we can go for smoking once in a while, we are 20 to 25 people in a 6 meters square room.
In the courtyard, guardians do not have masks or gloves and they don’t respect the measures. They stay together. In the two other TV rooms and the billiard room, it’s the same thing, there are two guardians, people go all over the place from a room to another.
In the courtyard, there is no respect of corona measures, nor in the two rooms.
For the rest, if you go to the doctor, if you call and go there, you must wait but at the end he does nothing for us. He treats us like animals.
Here, the meter and a half of corona measures, there is nothing at all, nobody respects that.
In the morning they take the temperature of the management people, only them, and if they have more than 37°, they don’t enter. But corona, as everybody knows, you can have « koorts » as we say in dutch (fever) only after a week or ten days.
If a sick person arrives here, everybody is going to be sick. We are all going to be sick because we all have contacts with each other, we hold hands, we stay close to each other, we even smoke cigarettes together. We have to light cigarettes with the chief’s lighter,from their hands to ours. There is really absolutely no respect for coronavirus.
Moreover, in the dining room also, all the groups – there are two groups :A-B and C-D – go down to eat together. I am B11. We go down to the dining room, and we eat together. There is about twenty inmates and about ten employees. There is also two people working in the restaurant, who gives us food, and we are all in the same room. Nobody, not even one of the inmates or of the employees, respects the 1.5 meter measure.
I hope that you can give us a hand, this situation is really inhuman. I am sick, I have 42% of my lung capacity, I had tuberculosis in the past. Since I have been here, people go around and leave us in an inhuman situation. It’s been a week and a half since I had a shower. I have to wash with water and soap. They give a soap that really cuts your hand, I don’t know how this soap is made, but it cuts your hands. And in the showers,you have to wash yourself with water, there is no shower gel nor shampoo.
Thank you for your information, and we hope that you will give us a hand. I am the father of Belgian children. There are lots of people here who have kids and places where they live. You can look after us because we are also human beings, even if we are foreigers, we are also human beings.
Thank you very much and goodbye. Our fate is in your hands, madam. We are not afraid of going on hunger strike or go to the isolation cell, but we are afraid of contracting the corona, of maybe dying with our family far from us, and without being able to go back to our native country when we’ll be dead, they will put us in a plastic bag and throw us here, in Belgium.”