Jasmin Gushani 20/11/2020
On 30 September 2020, we received a phone call from Jasmin Gushani, detained since 21 August 2020 for several months in the 127bis after being arrested one day when he was not wearing his mask on the street. “I apologised and put it back , but it was too late, they arrested me.”
His unfortunate retention conditions
He explains that he is sick because of the unhealthy conditions in the centre. “One week ago, I ate something at the canteen, and since then I have had heavy pains in my stomach.” Because of the sanitary conditions of the centre and the health issues it provokes, he will not be able to go to the tribunal to appeal for his release. He worries and tells us
“when I go to the bathroom, it is a mix of water and blood”, “I am sick, at the infirmary they just gave me a pill, which doesn’t help.” He has been eating very few since then. He is still sick today.
The inextricable concern about his demand for release
His demand for release is rejected and the arguments of his lawyer set back by the judge who, while quickly reading through his file, deems that Jasmin is a threat to national security because several stays in prison. His lawyer tells us that it is however only because of minor deeds.
When we speak with Jasmin, he tells us about his feeling of injustice and the violence he went through in the administrative process.
« I am feeling bad, I have been waiting for 12 years and lost my life, I am 38 years old, plus 6 months… I don’t have the time! […] Belgium is my country […] Since prison, I’ve already been to 4 centres, that is too much! I lost my life here. I wanted to live a normal life, I tried, but they refuse to give us documents everywhere, no wonder one has to do illegal stuff in order to survive. I would like to get out of here but they would not give me a second chance”
His situation is special, no Balkan country assumes the responsibility for him and is ready to take him back. He fits in the category of people who should be released because of the “impossibility to return”. Actually, he remains detained because he is demanding international protection to regularise his situation and rebuild his life; but his stays in prison, for facts of trying to cope and survive, have him locked in this ‘threat’ status.
Physical violence in the closed centre
He also testifies on the violence experienced in the centre when, on 4 October, he was beaten by co-detainees during the night.
“At night, the man sharing my cell woke me up shaking me, saying that I was snoring. I didn’t think it was the case, but it may have been because of the medicine I took… I stood up to turn on the light and speak to him but he got scared and ran away… He thought I was going to beat him but I just wanted to talk to him.
He came back with 8 guys, 4 were holding me while the other 4 were beating me, putting plastic in my mouth. I feel very bad, I’ve got bruises everywhere… in my back, my ribs, and my foot and fingers hurt a lot.”
After that, they brought him to a confinement cell, before transferring him to another wing. A doctor from the outside and two police officers will also come to determine his health situation and wounds. His social assistant fills in an official document noticing the facts for his legal file but when his lawyer gets it, he sees two mistakes which make the document inadmissible. One mistake in his date of birth, and the absence of date for his aggression. Jasmin says he starts to believe that she did that on purpose, they also tell him that his document should be sent as quickly as possible for his complaint to be possible.
The day after, another worker comes into his room to tell him:
“call your lawyer, people working here do not want the news about the fight to leave the centre, if you want things to move, ask him to come urgently!”
Besides his physical health, it is also his mental health that is at stake after many years of exclusion, detention and institutional violence. Often he says that he has “dark” thoughts and shows self-destructive behaviours.
“I keep thinking and thinking, I want to leave. […] I felt bad today, I boxed the wall and the radiator, I cut my arms with Gilette razor blades, I can not stand it anymore.”
He feels abandoned, condemned to live a life without documents after 12 years in Belgium. He also says he fears another attack because “if you died here, no one would ever know.”