Tension has been really high for several weeks in the closed centre of Steenokkerzeel. The attention of some detainees is concentrated on the worrying situation of some of them.
Last week a detainee of Palestinian origin who had been on hunger strike for 15 days and was very weak had incited them to go on a general hunger strike to claim for his hospitalisation.
This hunger strike was very rapidly interrupted and the Palestinian man was deported to Hungary. Ten guards came unexpectedely to take him by force out of his bedroom and bring him to the airport.
That day we got a new phone call:
A man of Iraqi origin is in the 127bis closed centre. Several days ago he selfmutilated himself and got several stitches. Five days ago he had also started a hunger strike. This Saturday 14th September in the evening he tried to swallow a razor blade and was urgently hospitalised. This 15th September in the morning he was brought back to the centre and isolated in a room with cameras and two guards.
His friends tell us that he wants to die and they are sure he’ll try another time.
He should be deported to Bulgaria. There he would be detained for an undetermined period of time and then be deported to Iraq where he doesn’t want to go anymore and where he would be in danger.
The detainees do not know what to do to help their companion and they ask for the help of associations to spread the information. They tell us that it is quite unbearable to be the witnesses of so much suffering without being able to act.
During a demonstration in front of the centre, on Sunday 8th September, the detainees had created banners and made a lot of noise inside. “It’s gonna burst” they said. The demonstration was a failure. A detainee told us that people were there just like tourists and that demonstrations like that are no good. Belgian deputies paid a visit to the detainees but ‘it is useless’ except may be to calm down the angry spirits.