UPDATE 07/07/2023: The man has been released after 9 months in prison and a 30-day hunger strike. Good luck to him.
30 may 2023: Mohamed S. has been held in Merksplas detention center since September 21, 2022, to await deportation to his “country of origin”, Algeria. He has lived in Europe for 30 years, and resides in Belgium since 2002.
No food and no water as a last resort
On May 24, 2023, Mohamed began a hunger and thirst strike. He tells us: “Freedom is priceless, I’m putting my life on hold, I die or I live, it’s up to them. I haven’t found any other solution”. The various appeals lodged by his lawyer before the Council Chamber failed to obtain his liberation. He is now risking his life in the hope of being released. Eight days after his action began, he feels feverish and suffers from dizziness. Completely exhausted, he is forced to stay in bed 24 hours a day, and cannot get out for the only two hours prisoners are normally allowed outside.
The risk of dying reinforced by the unconsciousness of staff and the Immigration Office
A thirst strike can very quickly lead to serious and irreversible brain and kidney damage, as well as death in the short term. Mohamed has been placed in medical isolation in block 5 of the Merksplas detention center, but is not receiving the medical care he needs. On his fifth day on strike, he requested a blood test, which was refused for the reason that “it’s not necessary”. However it is recommended that you have a blood test at the start of the hungerstrike, followed by another test every week, particularly if you lose more than 10% of your body weight. Mohamed is as aware of the risks he is taking as he is of the racist negligence of the center’s staff and the Immigration Office towards him. “We’re hostages here”, he says, “and I haven’t found any other alternative”.
Three months after the suspicious and still unexplained death (unless you believe the “natural death” theory put forward by the authorities the day after the tragedy) of a Georgian man in this same detention center, Mohamed’s fellow inmates are very worried.
Prisoners in closed centers regularly go on hunger and/or thirst strikes to demand their release from these endless and extremely violent incarcerations. We are currently in contact with a prisoner at the Bruges detention center, who has now been on hunger strike for 22 days.
Call for support
We invite you to send emails and make phone calls to those responsible for this mistreatment, so that Mr. Mohamed S. receives the appropriate medical care he needs and, ultimately, his release:
I am sending you this email to raise the situation of a person currently detained at the Merksplas detention centre. The prisoner is Mohamed S., an Algerian national who left his country more than 30 years ago. He has been on hunger and thirst strike for over eigth days. His medical situation is catastrophic and his life is in danger. His health is deteriorating by the day. What’s more, he is being denied appropriate medical care (hospitals and doctors). Mr Mohamed S. has lived in Belgium for over 20 years and has spent a large part of his life here. As the years go by, he has fewer and fewer ties with his country of origin. We believe that his detention must end as soon as possible so that he can receive adequate treatment and continue his life in Belgium. Could you, as a matter of urgency, demand the release of Mr Mohamed S, to prevent the situation from degenerating?
Thank you in advance,
Send to :
Merksplas detention center- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel: +32 14 63 91 10 / +32 2 206 15 60
Nicole de Moor, Office and secretariat of the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration- Email : email@example.com
Mr Roosemont, Director of the Immigration Office – Email : Bur_Presse@dofi.fgov.be– Tel : +32 2 793 80 31 / +32 2 79380 30 (FR)- Fax : 02 274 66 40
If you know any trustworthy journalists who could give echo to this information and shed light on the criminal responsibilities of the detention center and the Immigration Office, please pass on this initial information to them.
LIBERATION OF ALL