She was in the closed centrum during six months. The judge ask her liberation 5 times. She must go to the hospital on 23 April and the office liberate her on 25 april with a order to leave the country
How long have you been locked-up in detention centre 127bis for?
I’ve been here since 8 November 2011.
Where were you stopped?
I was stopped at my house with my boyfriend who lives with me. On 8 November they came to get me at the house.
Have you been in Belgium for long?
Since 24 March 2008.
Do you have family in Belgium?
Yes I have a daughter in Belgium; she is married and has 3 children. They are all Belgian.
So if I understand correctly, you’ve been in the detention centre for nearly 6 months?
Yes, I’ve been at centre 127bis for nearly 6 months. Today it’s exactly 5 months and 15 days.
Why do you think you have been there for such a long time?
I was brought here as I received a deportation order to leave Belgian territory. That’s why I was stopped. In November my lawyer requested that I be freed and the judge ordered that I be let out. For 5 months I have been going before the court and each time the judge orders that I am let out but the prosecution always refutes the decision and appeals. I don’t know why, I have no previous record with the police. I don’t know why they always appeal the decision to free from 127bis. I don’t know why. Everyone is worried.
Afterwards I claimed asylum but that didn’t lead anywhere. They told me that I can’t stay here after the 28 April, and at my age I am ill, I bleed and everything.
They brought me to the hospital and the doctor said he is going to operate on me on 4 May. Much to my surprise the social assistant told me that normally they don’t extend stays and as I claimed asylum my last day is still the 28th. But 2 days ago, the 19th I think, they came and told me that they were going to extend the time period for me. I asked them why they were going to extend it when they had previously said I couldn’t stay at the centre past the 28th and I’d have to be either freed or deported. I asked them: ‘As I don’t have a flight confirmed why are you keeping me here?’ They replied ‘I don’t know’.
Since then I have just been waiting. My boyfriend and I have decided to get married; we collected all the papers and registered on the 19th. Our marriage date is the 9 May.
So there are lots of things that are going to happen: you need to undergo an operation and you are getting married.
The operation is on the 4th and I’m getting married on the 9th. But I’m still here in the detention centre.
Have you already undergone any deportation attempts?
The first time I didn’t go to the airport. The lawyer sent a letter saying they didn’t have to deport me. The second time I was at the airport but I refused by telling them I had links here: my daughter and my partner. Then they let me go.
Do you have major health problems at the moment?
Yes, they sent me to the hospital on 30 March. The doctors did a biopsy. The gynaecologist said: ‘This woman can’t take the aeroplane; it’s not normal having periods at her age. I need to do something.’ He sent a letter to the centre. They didn’t want to tell me but there is a nurse here who quit and one day she called me to tell that I can’t leave as they had to operate on me.
So you can’t be deported, did the doctor sign something to confirm that?
Yes, and they can’t deport me as I don’t have a flight. As I have no flight before the 29th they have to let me out.
And life in the detention centre? What’s it like?
I know centre 127bis very very well. I’ve seen lots of things that have traumatised me. I have seen Congolese, Guineans and Moroccans being deported. I have seen people leaving covered in blood. In the centre we do eat but the food is not sufficient enough.
Are there a lot of you in the women’s wing?
At the moment there are a lot of us: there are Africans, Rwandans, Liberians, Congolese and Nigerians.
Have you heard anything about a potential charter flight this month to the Congo?
They told us that it will be at the end of the month.
Are you scared that you will be put on this flight despite having certificates that prove you have health problems?
Yes I’m scared as here they do anything to deport people, like the girl who was freed at 3pm, but then stopped and taken to the airport at 5pm. I’m scared they’ll deport me like that despite my health problems and my marriage. They’ve told me about the collective flight and I’m scared.
But with your health certificates and marriage, legally they can’t deport you?
Do you have anything else to add?
I want to add that if there is a way to apply the law here, in my case for example, I don’t understand why they extend my time in the centre. So that means that they’ll keep me here until after the 28th and then they’ll send me to the hospital on the 4th before deporting me? That’s it? I want to emphasise that what they are doing is not good.
There are also pregnant women here such as the girl who refused to eat today. There is one women who is 6 months pregnant. She asked for her clothes that she left behind at the open centre. They won’t bring them to her, she says she won’t eat anymore. That’s not good at all.
Do you see lots of things that don’t seem normal to you?