Walid is living in Belgium since 2008. He has a 3-year old daughter. In 2014 he spent a few months in jail for a petty theft, and was released after his sentence.
On December 16 2015, the police burst in his appartment in Ostende at 5 AM : 5 police cars, 4 plainclothed police, sirens screaming. He’s brought to the police station and transfered after 24 hours to the 127bis closed center to be deported to Algeria, his country of origin.
In March 2016, following some renovations in one aisle of the closed center in Steenokkerzeel, 32 detainees are transfered, and Walid is sent to Merksplas, where he will spend 9 months.
Further to a hunger strike movement in Merksplas, a protest against long and inhumane detention, and so as to break the movement, several detainees are locked up in isolation cells. Walid will stay isolated for 48 hours, then brought to Vottem closed center, where he will spend another 4 more days in isolation.
In Vottem he’s finally assigned to the secured aisle, designed for unwilling and/or psychologically deranged inmates, and nicknamed “the prison inside the prison” by the detainees. He sits alone in a cell, with a one-hour-walk-outside-per-day privilege : within a barbed wire cage, under constant monitoring by cameras, and still, on his own. “A Guantanamo à la Belge”, as he decribes his predicament.
In Decembre 2016, just as he celebrates his first year in closed centers, he receives a 2-month extension notice.
He is still isolated in Vottem, even if his situation somewhat improved : he’s now allowed a few hours in other aisles to “keep human contacts”, dixit Vottem’s direction.
It’s been over a year now that Walid is detained, in isolation for “administrative reasons”, without a trial. The Office des étrangers attempted to deport him 8 times, but each time the flight was cancelled due to a laissez-passer being denied by the Consulate of Algeria.
Many times his lawyer requested his release. In 3 instances the Tribunal ordered his release, and 3 times the Office des étrangers appealed the tribunal’s decision and the Chambre des mises en accusations sided along with the Office. Walid is maintained in his cell.
He’s been looking for a lawyer for several weeks lately, who could lodge a release request with the Tribunal in Ostande or in Bruges responsible for his detention. No success so far : none of the lawyers he contacted wants to, or his able to take on this delicate case.
Walid is desperate. All he’s asking for is to be released and get back to his dauhgter. He doesn’t know what to do any more and says he’s ready for anything !
“This torture must stop, one way or another…”
15/01/2017: Walid is on hunger and thisty strike for 3 days: He asks the authorities “What do they want me to do? What do they want to do with me? When will this nightmare end? Why are we treated like animals? Rather die than continue to live like that “