Audiotestimony : Twenty five days of hunger strike: “In Brussels, where are the human rights? “06/02/2023 Update

Update : Free on 09/02/2023

He is 44 years old. Originally from Tunisia, he has been living in Belgium for 12 years. On 13 December he was placed in a detention centre following a police check in Stalingrad. He had built his life in Belgium, but suddenly lost everything. He had asylum in Italy but now his papers have expired. He wants to go back to join his family. But the Belgian authorities are determined to send him back to Tunisia, a country in crisis where, cut off from his family, he has nothing left. Nahdi asks for asylum in Belgium, which they do not want to grant him because Tunisia is not a country at war. Then, faced with the despair of his situation, he started a hunger strike on 16/01/2023. Today, 06/02/2023, in the medical isolation cell of the detention centre of Merksplas, he is on his 25th day of hunger strike. He risks his health and his life. He asks for freedom.

AUDIO here 06/02/2023

Transcription of the testimony

  • Freedom is precious. I continue until the end, you see, until death. I don’t have time. I have to take my duty.
  •     The other time I spoke with the management here. They tell me: “Why don’t you go to Tunisia and then go back to Italy? I don’t have wings, you see. Leave me here, I’m going to Italy on my own. Italy is close. Why should I go to Tunisia and then to Italy?
  •     They don’t have the right to put me in a detention centre. If the police has a problem with me, they should put me in prison, not in a detention centre. I’ve been in Belgium for 12 years. 12 years in Belgium. I have many things here in Belgium. You see, I have a wife. I left her, I don’t know how. My business, my job I lost. I lost everything. Now I have nothing left in Belgium to stay.
  •     These people play with people’s minds. They want me to eat. The other time they tell me “Eat, we’ll take you to another centre”. What’s the problem with them wanting to take me away? It’s the same. “Eat!” No, I don’t eat. I die here with you, I die here. 
  •     We don’t have a medical service. Because here, the medical service only works in the morning. At night there is no service that checks on you. If you die at night, you die. At night, there is no hospital or anything here. You see me, I haven’t eaten for 24 days, how am I doing? I’m becoming a skeleton. Now 58 kilos. I’ve lost 17 kilos. A skeleton. And still people look at you, want to control you. What do you control? Take me to the hospital, if you want to control.
  •     I want my freedom. We are treated like animals: you close, you open, you close, you give food. People play with your mind here. It’s worse than prison. Because in prison you know when you are going to get out. Here you know nothing. You spend two months in a detention centre and they add two more months. You don’t have the right to ask for asylum because your country is “normal”. Your country is not at war. What are you doing in Belgium? Why does a Tunisian ask for asylum? They don’t care about people here. You have to ask for asylum so that you can stay here. You stay 2 months, then they add 2 months and then they add 10 months. There are people here for 9 months. He is still here, he is struggling. People say he will die here. 
  • If someone dies here, we will be recognised as people and not animals. Because human rights are not controlled here. There is a volunteer who passes by, looks at us, talks to us, asks how things are going, how things are going wrong. He passes by and then he goes to his house, he laughs, he’s nothing at all. There are no human rights here. In Brussels, where are the human rights? There are none. They play with your health. Now, 24 days. Look, you see? Come and see here. This is not normal. Someone will die here. Because I spent the last four days not doong well.
  • In the center, everything is against me. Around me only walls. People have to understand. It is a prison, a trade of human beings. I’m all alone here, you know. I’m only out of here in my heart.
  • What’s my name? Nahdi Mouz. Like this, you see, my name is written to keep it. Show what’s in here.”
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