“He is not dead yet if you want to know”

Email from the friend of a detainee in the closed centre 127bis in Steenokkerzeel 18/11/2012

We met through the internet in August 2009. Every day we had contacts by email and telephone. He came to see me on January 19th 2010 and we have been living together since June 2010.
He received an Order to leave the territory on 24 March 2011.
We went to see the lawyer who said he would sort that out – a new hope for us.
We got an email from the lawyer where he said he had written to the magistrate and done what was necessary to sort out the situation – we had to wait again…

Then they came to take him on June 12th 2012 at 11.45 p.m with the police. They banged on the door violently and they shouted. Without showing their papers nor explaining why they were there, they came in and took him away.

They put him in the closed centre 127bis in Steenokkerzeel. That is where the problems started.
He was registered in this centre on June 13th 2012 and I went there everyday to visit him. There I saw that his health was degrading rapidly.
The doctor and the psychologist think that the people who are detained there are really dangerous but they are not. The people detained there are just like you and me.
They give them pills to sleep. One day I saw the pills he had to take. My doctor told me that he should refuse to take them.

One week after his arrival in the centre, one morning when he had woken up ten minutes before people were allowed to smoke he asked for some fire to light  his cigarette. They refused.
They bandied words, then they asked my friends to come closer and when he reached the door they started to beat him without reason. He tried to defend himself, but thirteen jailers jumped on him and mistreated him.
The doctor came to visit him because he could not stand up anymore and he said that they had to bring him immediately to the hospital.
The director and guards answered that it was impossible to bring him to the hospital because there people would learn what had happened in the centre.
They put him in an isolation cell during 24 hours under suveillance seen his health state.

They day after I went to the centre and I talked to the assistant and the psychologist. They told me that it was forbidden to smoke before 7 a.m and they added that he was not dead yet if I wanted to know…
I asked them why they treated people so badly but they did not answer.

Then I went to visit my friend and when I saw him I collapsed and cried: he had been beaten so hard that he was covered with bruises from top to bottom, he could neither stand nor sit, and this only because of a cigarette!
I saw how they treated other persons during my visits: it is simply unbelievable and inhuman, this must stop!
The world does not belong to anyone! People should be allowed to live where they want to and where they find happiness.

Let them start imprisoning real criminals first, but not undocumented and innocent people.
My story is not over yet, and if I had to say it all about 127 bis and Bruges I could write a book. I am full of compassion for these people who are trapped. 

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