Call from a detention centre: “Torture in Sudan you say? What about here?”

“Does the Schengen Area still exist?”

The persons detained in the Merkplas detention centre are very angry. A man was recently brought to the detention centre even if he had a valid residence permit in France.

It is definitely not the first time that a person is kept in detention for months even though he/she has a valid residence permit in the Schengen area, whether in France, the Netherlands or Spain, which was the case for a Sudanese person who had a valid residence permit in Germany … This happens all the time, people have to stay in detention for months before being sent back to their Schengen country. For very obscure reasons, they get arrested during razzia’s in trains, trams or in public areas and are then brought to detention centres.

While being held in detention for months, they lose there jobs, there houses. Those situations quickly turn into a disaster for them. What the detainees put a stress on through this testimony is the unmanageable administrative logic with which detention centres are rules, a logic which banalizes the practice and idea of an “extra penitentiary” detention :
Deprivation of freedom for mear administrative motives, the green light is given to detentions without any obligation to bring the matter in front of a court and the detention can be maintained for an undetermined period of time.

Another phone call from a man’s relatives : he has been in complete isolation in the the detention centre high security area in Vottem for 4 months already. This month he had been transferred to Merkplas and put in the dungeon. During his transfer he was beaten up. He has a residence permit in France and two of his children live there. The Office of foreigners suspects him of islamic “radicalisation”. His relatives in France tell us that this is not the case: he has two children in France, he used to be a singer and above all that there has never been any type of investigation about this presumed “radicalisation”.
This case reminds us of the incarceration of a man supposedly suspected of “terrorism” who was eventually released after months.

And the most recent call of today 22/12+17 : “Madam, my husband has been detained in isolation cell for 4 days in a closed centre. Is this legal? isn’t that torture?”

The detainees in detention centres are protesting : “Does the Schengen area still exist? What are the duties of the Foreign Office and what do they do that is beyond their role and duty? What about people’s rights? Are detentions decided according to people’s colour of skin? Is it blatant racism? What are detention centers meant for exactly?”



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