Update closed detention centre of Bruges:
19/12/2020: They are very scared
In the closed centre of Bruges a wing was closed because of too many positive COVID cases. All prisoners were transferred.
In the only wing left open , 7 prisoners are still detained, one of whom tested positive today and being put in isolation. Those who remain should be re-tested for the 4th time. Another prisoner is diabetic and is very scared since he is high risk.
36 staff members were tested positive and are now absent since both were evacuated today in vans (destination?). Drivers from the Office des Étrangers were called for replacing the missing guards.
A director of the centre has suspended the video contacts because “too much handling, health risk”.
She is waiting on Monday for the directives from Brussels to find out what to do.
“They were transferred for going and infecting others in other centres?”
“FREE US PLEASE”
20/12/2020: The last 7 detainees at the centre would be transferred tomorrow 21/12/2020 .
SHUTDOWN OF ALL CLOSED CENTRES
Inmates inform us
On 11/12/2020: detainees of the closed center of Bruges receive the information that 2 detainees tested positive at Covid 19. All detainees tested. The prisoner we are in contact with doesn’t know if the staff is tested and wonders: “I guess the staff is too but I don’t know”.
On 13/12: they are told that 6 prisoners and 5 staff members were tested positive (block AB). An inmate from a non-infected wing establishes the responsibility of the director: “He is working with staff who have not yet been tested and he has not communicated anything to the inmates”.
14/12: a detainee in quarantine, 6 infected in his AB wing, his infected ‘chief’, 12 staff members! Detainees in D wing sabotage. They are thinking of refusing the third Covid test. He blames the management for a lack of communication.
Audio testimony here ( FR)
“The only thing we’ve been able to do so far for us, is to give us the little masks but we’re still in contact with the guards. Just today, we had two more cases among the guards The director told us that we had to be tested again, this is the third time. Maybe in a week’s time we will be positive. Because the same guards with whom we share the pool table, the educational games, the TV room, the card games and so on, they tested positive. With them, we had no restrictions because here nothing is planned in relation to that. So we ask that we be freed. I don’t know why they are going to keep me in the center when they know that there are positive cases of coronavirus that can affect my health.
I really want people outside to know the reality that is happening in the center of Bruges. “
Health requirements obviously vary according to the profiles. Prisoners, marginalized and invisible in the media, seem to bother politicians very little. Behind their bars, they may get sick, be crammed into tiny cells and have no access to health care: politicians don’t care. Some lives are worth more than others.
Through the testimonies collected, we denounce once again the abbreviation of closed centers and the abject conditions in which people are detained. Locked up with their co-detainees and guards who come and go from the outside, the detainees fear falling ill: they are treated for cancer with paracetamol, they are unlikely to be given respirators in case of emergency….
The confinement does indeed seriously harm health, perhaps as much as the Covid 19.
It is time to stop procrastinating: open the cells, freedom for all.
Translation of the testimony
We are at the “center for illegal immigrants” of Bruges. It turned out that in the course of the past week we had several positive cases of coronavirus, including the educators, the detainees, the guards as well, and the director didn’t take any measures to keep us safe. In both groups there are infected people. As of today, eight of the chiefs are infected, six of the inmates are infected, and two of the educators are infected. All of us have been tested twice in this center, we entered here without coronavirus because we are tested right at the entrance before entering the group. So we were tested twice and all of us were negative, and then the guards going home and coming back brought the corona back inside. The only thing we’ve been able to do so far for us is to give us the little masks, but we’re still in contact with the guards. Just today, we had two more cases among the guards that were positive. When the results came, the directorate told us that we have to be tested again for a third time in a week, and we don’t know, maybe in a week we will be positive. Because the same guards with whom we share the billiard table, the educational games and the TV room, the card games and others, they tested positive. With them, we had no restrictions because here nothing is planned in relation to that. We tried to talk to the directors. Today she didn’t want to collaborate with us, all she told us was that we are waiting for the third test to see what new cases are among us. Then we ask to be released. I have children outside, I have a wife outside, it’s true that I’ve done stupid things but I’ve already paid for my stupidities. I don’t know why they keep me in the center when we know that there are positive cases of coronavirus that can affect my health. I really want people outside to know the reality that is happening in the center of Bruges.
Inmates who are infected are still in the center. We have a room that they call “medical”, the medical room that has 7 small rooms. We also have access to it because when you have a request to the doctor, that’s where we take you. When you go to see the social workers, it’s through the medical you go through. They had one of our brothers in the medical room for 48 hours, and yet today he joined the group from the medical room where those suffering from coronavirus are kept. It’s little things, but they are all stuck. They were asked not to put him there but they put him there. Today they took him out without testing him to see if he is positive and now he is with us in the group so no measures are taken for our safety.