On 15 of February this year, Tamazi, a man of Georgian origin, died in the Merksplas detention centre. At the time, Getting the Voice Out reported on this tragedy, which raised many questions, even though the man had been on hunger strike for several days. https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/death-at-merksplas-closed-centre-after-hunger-strike-15-02-2023/
While the Belgian press dwelt on the “trouble” caused by the legitimate anger of his shocked fellow inmates, the Foreigners’ Office announced the very next day that it was certainly a “death by natural causes”. The Antwerp public prosecutor’s office confirmed this the following day.
Mediapart’s investigation looks back at the life of this father, who was tortured in Georgian jails before taking refuge in France. The article also raises important questions about the circumstances of his death, even though only an external “analysis” of the body was carried out.
Some fellow inmates speak of forced injections of what may have been antipsychotics, drugs that can cause serious heart problems. Tamazi’s daughter has asked in vain for a list of the drugs he was given.
Photos of the body taken at the morgue also show wounds on one ear, his forehead, his torso and one elbow. His wife testified that he had no wounds the day before when she visited him. She added that at the morgue, “he was swollen. He had blood in his mouth and on his ears, which his hair was hiding”.
The family has lodged a civil action and we hope that their fight will enable the truth to be uncovered and that both individual and political responsibility will be clearly established. Tamazi should never have ended up in this detention centre, like all the other detainees. The efforts of the Foreigners’ Office and the public prosecutor’s office not to find out the cause of Tamazi’s death reflect the racism that underpins migration policy.