In case of retention. Update 07 March 2020

When retained in a closed centre, it is important to very rapidly address a lawyer (without blindly accepting one suggested by the centre). 
Indeed, during their retention, some get an Order to Leave the Territory against which lawyers may introduce an appeal in extreme urgency with the CCE within the following 5 (if not the first OLT) or 10 days (if first OLT). 
Others get an “X1” (decision to maintain the retention so as to determine the Member State in charge). This “X1” is then followed by an “X2” (decision to transfer to the Member State in charge with the decision to maintain the retention in the closed centre in view of the transfer to the Member State in charge) when the Dublin country has been determined. 
For several Dublin countries (France, Germany, Nordic countries, etc.) the lawyers suggest a voluntary return since an appeal would be useless (except in cases of huge physical or psychic vulnerability with a certificate. See below). 
For other countries (Italy, Spain, Greece, Eastern countries, etc.), appeals are sometimes possible. 
Information to submit to the lawyer, by order of importance: 
– Name of the person as registered in the centre (most often it is the name on the OTL, if the person already got some). 
– 7 digits identification number (Foreigners Office/IBZ/SP), indicated on the badge they got when arriving at the centre 
– Centre: 127bis, Caricole, Vottem, Bruges, Merksplas, Holsbeek
– Bloc/room/bed number 
– Nationality as registered by the Office 
– Real nationality if known 
– Date and place of birth
– Date of arrest
– Place of arrest (important)
– Number of Orders to Leave the Territory (OTL) received 
– In which country were the fingerprints taken? (Dublin, possible asylum request) 
– Vulnerability (sickness, psychological problems, pregnancy, etc.) 
– Family in Europe or in the United Kingdom, single/married 
– Phone number or co-retainee’s phone number 
Almost all transit exiles in Belgium depend on another Schengen country (their ‘Dublin’ country) for their asylum request. The Foreigners Office systematically apply these Dublin returns.  
Currently, most of them have Germany as designated Dublin country. In that case, a request for voluntary return is adivsed. They will be released in Germany and able to resume their migratory journey from there. 
A few figures based on notifications on gettingthevoiceout
  • Number of retentions notified in December 2019 : 23
All declared and Dublin returns executed (voluntary returns or deportations) Germany: 12, Italy 3, France 2, Norway 1, Switzerland 3, the Netherlands 1
One Italy Dublin was released following an appeal.
  • Number of retentions notified in January: 50
Number of Dublin: 39, others non communicated:  Switzerland 4, Sweden 2, Germany 15, Italy 7, Greece 4, France 2, Norway 1, Malta 2
Releases following appeals: France 1, Italy 1, Malta 1
Some have been retained sometimes for more than 6 months. The Office are relentless and extend their retention for 2 months every 2 months, sometimes despite releases ordered by Courts of Appeal against which the Office introduce another appeal and win in front of the Indictment Chamber. 
It concerns people who firmly oppose their deportation by legal means and/or their own fight actions in the centres and during escape attempts. 
Amongst them(non-exhaustive list): 
  • – exiles who firmly refuse their deportation to their country of origin; 
  • -undocumented who have been living in Belgium for several years, who fell in love and went to their commune for a request of marriage or cohabitation, considered as ‘white marriage’ by the Office,
  • -undocumented who wish to have their children registered at the commune and arrested following that request; 
  • -people who committed an offence for which they were convicted and will be deported, even if they have wives and children here! Double penalty:
Important for the people who are regularly in contact with some retainees: before their departure (try to) collect all the information (see above) which could help us find them back in case of arrests and be able to intervene rapidly. 
Message by the lawyers : 
« In the framework of future arrests or retention records, several lessons are to be drawn: 
1) If the person has psychological problems, it is essential that they mention it while being questioned by the police or the Foreigners Office; 
2) If the person has a psychological or medical certificate, it is essential that they give a copy of it to the police or the FO (if they do not carry it with them, they should mention it during their hearing); 
3) If the person, during the questioning, do not fluently speak the language, they should say it and refuse to communicate in the absence of an interpreter (valid for all the records!);
4) As far as possible, medical and psychological certificates should precise the degree of seriousness of the medical troubles and the absolute necessity of a follow-up or medical treatment in the short/medium/long term. 
These advice are applicable to all the persons having medical and/or psychological problems. Thank you in advance to forward this message to the persons in contact with vulnerable people. It will increase their chances to be released in case of retention and prevent their deportation. 
It would be good that the exile who already consulted Médecins du Monde, Médecins sans Frontières or any other practitioner or expert has a certificate or proof in the most serious cases. The latter should describe the physical and psychic state of the exile.  
Remind the exiles that they should never sign a document if they do not understand it. The pressure is too strong, they should write on top of their signature and in their native language “I do not understand.” 
We continue asking the retainees and their relatives to testify about these retentions and deportations, please send your written and/or oral testimonies to
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