I have been a refugee in England for ten years

Interview of a man detained in the closed centre of Merksplas. He got arrested when in transit from Morocco to England. He is living in England where he has had the refugee status for 10 years.

Listen (FR) :

Je suis réfugié en Angleterre depuis 10 ans

I had travelled to Africa, I was on my way back, I was in transit in Zaventem.
Policemen asked to see my passport and when they saw it they said “no, this is not you, this is not a picture of you”. I took out all my documents, my bank cards, my English driving licence, all my documents, they all have the same name, the same birth date, my picture is also in my driving licence.

They brought me to a center over there and they gave me a lawyer. The lawyer came to see me, I explained my situation but he started making a fuss.

I have been in England for ten years, since September 9 2000, I have been recognised as a refugee since 2002. All my family is there: my children, my wife, my sisters, my young brother; we got the status of family reunification.

They confiscated them and don’t want to give them back to me. First they said it was not me, but it happened to other people who had visas, passports, all in order for the transit, they were with me there for one month and a half. Now they want me to go back to Africa, but I don’t have any family in Africa! They wanted me to go to Morocco, in Casablanca! I swear! I even had the ticket! They forced me on the plane. I refused. I explained the situation to the pilot, he said that he could not have me on his plane. They made me disembark. My bank cards… I don’t know if they lost them, there is money on them, and they also have my work permit.

I am not Moroccan! To send someone to Morocco, first you must identify him, they didn’t even bring me to the Moroccan embassy to identify me! They gave me the ticket to Casablanca because I had bought my ticket with Royal Air Maroc! They didn’t even identify me. One can not be taken to Morocco like this! I have a travel document from United Kingdom, I am living in England, not in Casablanca. It is the fourth time I have refused.
How can someone who is living in England with the refugee status be deported? Even diplomatic laws… someone who has settled in a certain country, when in transit in another country, you may send him back to the country where he has settled. Then they got the whole thing… they changed the story, it was the stamp which was not right. This is what Belgians do! You can not do that! What they do at the immigration office, one can not do that!

They told me that I would go to England from Africa. So I asked them for my passport! They said they would not give it to me because of a certain stamp I needed. All this is bullshit!

Other people were arrested with me, all their papers were all right, they stayed with me for two months more or less.

In my case, it is better to ask the Belgian authorities here.

They talk about human rights, but it is not the case!

At the airport, they left me naked, they beated me, and I was naked! I am telling the truth! Here many people are sick and suffer! One does not beat someone to have him on a plane! One who is handcuffed, can he still be beaten? They threatened me heavily you know!
When I left for the plane I asked the pilot for my bag with my documents, he even thought they had hidden it, because it contains all my evidence.

My lawyer wrote me to say he would make an appeal, but I don’t trust him, I wanted to change. Before I got my ticket for Casablanca I rang him and I explained the situation, he told me that he would make an appel after. How can you make an appeal after? For someone who is almost getting deported to Morocco??!!

I’ve got a headache, I sleep badly here, I suffer, many people suffer here, I’ve got insomnia. We are in prison here. We may go out for 45 minutes, then they close the doors, and I don’t talk about the food… we are in prison here.

There many racists here too, who hate Black people, not everybody of course, but most of the people. All we see here is pathetic.

Someone who makes a hunger strike is put to an isolation cell here, although he has the right to go on hunger strike! There are seven people in cells for the moment.

I don’t know if the media are aware of this. Even in England there are organisations that come to the prison to visit the people.

They threatened me, they insulted me, they pushed me etc and before handcuffing me they left me naked… Please ask them why they did that to me!

At the airport they beat another guy, he didn’t even go to the hospital, and he has been here for one month already. What policemen do in Zaventem is not good.

I lodged a complaint against the policemen who lost my bank cards, they must reimburse me. The social assistant told me that on Wednesday they will contact the policemen who arrested me in Zaventem.

It is also why we are asking you for some help.

You see… the passport, the refugee status, since 1951, in 2002 the gave me the papers and now why have I been arrested?

Thanks a million, that’s very kind of you.


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