12/03/2021 Repression at Merksplas
Two blocks of the centre are currently occupied, and the detainees are no longer two, but three per room, still without masks. They tell us that the food is bad and insufficient, that medical care is almost non-existent. Moreover, the promiscuity creates internal tensions.
They are mainly “double sentenced” in Merksplas, locked up with the intention of being deported to a country they do not always know, after having finished a prison sentence. Double penalty
“They treat us like dogs”.
“I paid, I did my time, I paid”
A person who arrived in Belgium at the age of 7 tells us:
“I paid my debt to society, to justice. And all of a sudden I’m told to go back to a country I don’t know. For me, it’s hard to swallow”.
“I’m devastated by the stress”.
“The bosses (=the hacks) provoke us, are aggressive”.
“My life is here. I get crazy”.
A detainee testifies after an interview with an officer of the Aliens Office:
“He tortured me, he told me to choose between 2 cuntrys in Africa” “since that day, I haven’t slept” “he told me you’re going to stay here, we’re going to keep you for a year” “he tortured me good good good” “They told me they’ll give you 5 days to think it over, but I’ve already said what I think: “first of all, it’s not my country, I’m going back there, I’m going to prison. they’re going to torture me, it’s suicide for me”.
“Since Wednesday I have stopped eating, I have stopped taking my medication. They told me if you don’t eat, you’ll stay in the cell. But what difference does it make? I’m tired, tired. It’s strange the law in Belgium. I live like someone who has committed a crime. “The cell is disgusting, the bed with the toilet…”
When they have to go to the council chamber for a release request, some are not warned and not brought in, others are put in the solitary confinment the day before and then brought to the court, handcuffed:
“NO RIGHTS here THEY WANT TO DEMOLISH US”.
Big hunger strike since 03/03/2021 Appeal here
11 people from a Merksplas wing start a hunger strike to demand their release. They are non-removable and some have been locked up for over a year (some for 15 months). As the movement spread to other wings, repression was used: about ten people were put in prison.
To our knowledge, two of them are still there and one person has been transferred to the secure wing of Vottem. They are demanding their freedom. Testimonies here:
Activists went to express their solidarity in front of the centre. see indymedia here
“I don’t know what to do… to find freedom”
“That’s how life is, sometimes things happen, you have to resist. You have to resist. We hope that afterwards there will be happiness”.
NO TO CLOSED CENTRES