30 November 2011: Phone interview with a Congolese man, imprisoned in detention centre 127bis.
He is the son of a political opponent who was assassinated in 1998. He fled the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with his entire family. His mother and his eldest brothers have been in Belgium for 20 years. He fled first of all to Nigeria and since then has moved around between several different African countries. He arrived in Belgium several months ago via Morocco. He has made two asylum requests. If he returns to the DRC he risks his life and he has no links at all to Morocco.
When he was subjected to his fourth deportation attempt on 29 November he was escorted by ten police officers who were supposed to hand him over to the Moroccan military on the plane. He refused to get on the plane and the soldiers manhandled him.
They told him: “If you don’t get on the place you will go to prison and we’ll abandon you in the desert.” Their behaviour reiterated his fears about how he would be treated if he ended up in Morocco.
This incident happened in front of Belgian police officials who said nothing. Following his refusal to get on the place he was taken back to centre 127bis by Belgian police officers. There will be more deportation attempts to come.
Listen to the interview (FR) :[audio:http://gettingthevoiceout.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Congolais-EXP5.mp3|titles=Congolais EXP5]
I came to Belgian because of my father’s death, he was a politician and he was killed for that. My mother is here in Belgium and so are my brothers and sisters. They have all had their papers for 20 years. I went to 127 to claim asylum but they refused me. As a result they brought me to centre 127bis so they could repatriate me. Although I am from the DRC they say they are going to send me back to Casablanca because that is where I flew to Belgium from so it was the last country I set foot in.
The first time they tried I refused. The second time they tried to force me. The third time they made me undress. Two police officers stood in front of me and there were also four of five of them behind a little door. I heard one woman say: “He’s pretty fat eh?” I thought: “Are you doing your job or are you looking at my body so you can tell me I am fat?”
I put my clothes back on and they tried to deport me again. They had everything they needed to hurt me, to make me do what they wanted.
They let me go and said: “OK but next time it will be the Moroccans.”
Yesterday they told me: “OK you don’t want to leave but you’ll have to wait in the repatriation waiting room.” I was there for 3 hours! They came back and told me: “You know today is not a good day for you, you have to go back as if not it will be difficult with the Moroccans. You know what Arabs are like don’t you? You know it is going to be tough? They aren’t like the Belgians eh!”
They said: “Listen, we’re going to handcuff you and hand you over to the Moroccan police.”
I got in the car and the Moroccans came to tell me: “You have to leave, we are citizens so you should cooperate with us as if you don’t the police are going to come and they’ll handcuff your hands and feet.”
I said: “OK no problem.”
I got up very slowly and continued right up to the aeroplane. Two steps before the door I stopped and said: “Where is the pilot?”
They said: “No you have to leave, it’s not worth looking for him. You have to leave!”
They pushed me but I resisted. There were now 10 men around me!
I have seen lots of people in the detention centre with injuries as a result of having their hands or feet handcuffed during deportation attempts. Broken hands and teeth for example. Some people have even had their mouths taped up.
The Moroccans pushed me around. The Belgian police officers said to me: “Are you trying to get us in trouble?” I kept resisting until finally someone who seemed to be a police inspector said: “Stop. You are incapable of taking this man therefore he can’t leave!”
So we went back to the office. However I am sad to say that I now have a new fight to face. If I win I can stay in Belgium, if I lose I’ll end up in Morocco.
This person has given a few days later a second testimony (see testimony)