News from the Belgian Closed Centres, 24 May 2012

All information gathered from the closed centres for the last two weeks

According to the prisoners of the closed centre 127bis, 90% of the detainees are DUBLIN 2 cases. They are being deported to the European country where they first introduced an asylum request. Many accept this return after several months of imprisonment and pressure in the closed centre. They say they will continue their migration journey to other countries or continents as soon as they have the opportunity to do so.

The few persons who got released generally get an Order to leave the territory; which doesn’t improve their situation. The “blackmail” for voluntary return is systematic, with fake promises of a possible return and eventually a certain amount of money (ndlr: isn’t this also a kind of human trafficking?).

More and more flights under escort : those who do not want or who can not return to their country are generally deported by force escorted by 5 to 10 police officers. Sometimes, passengers refuse to travel under these conditions and the candidate is brought back to the centre, not without avoiding insults and assault at the airport police station.
During a call for mobilisation in the airport in order to try and prevent a deportation, the federal police proceeds with its intimidation, with dogs and identity checks.

Interviews from the centres:

“Your deportation machine is working well”.
“We are cattle brought to slaughterhouse”.
“Such a waste”.
“Seven police officers make a return flight to Kinshasa, only to deport one man, what a waste! All this in times of austerity…”.

One Iraki in a wheel chair, in Belgium for 7 years.

Deportation under escort of Thierry, a Congolese opponent, detained for several months in 127bis.
Attempt of deportation under escort of P., Congolese, on May 24th, after 6 months of closed centre.

A Moroccan woman, having lived in Belgium for ten years or so, got released with an Order to leave the territory. They tried to deport her as of the beginning of her detention. The judge released her twice, the Foreign Office appealed to the decision. She finally got freed with an order to leave the territory, without really knowing the reason of it, there would have been an error!

Three Tunisian men brought from Vottem to 127bis on May 23rd, put in isolation cells as soon as they got there!

Aborted deportation to Madrid of a pregnant Angolan woman on May 24th! Call for action:

Many calls from Merksplas. In some wings there are solidarity movements and attempts to call outside for help. They ask that media and NGOs come and see their detention conditions.

One breakout on May 23rd during a medical examination.

Rumor of death in the week-end of 19-20 May during the deportation of a Maghrebi in the airport. The Office denies the rumor and the detainees who had informed us don’t want to (can not) talk anymore!

Following the riot of May 14th, some detainees stayed in isolation cells for 11 days,  without water nor food; a practice which can be assimilated to a degrading and inhuman treatment. They are out of the cells now.

Several Afghan people call for help. We know that two of them got deported, a third one would be deported on May 29th. The Embassy of Afghanistan doesn’t always give out passes, and if they don’t it is the Foreign Office that gives them out, to enable deportations.

Asian newcomers.

Two Congolese men were subject to several deportation attempts, some of them very harsh.

Text message received on May 20th 02:33 p.m:
Hello, I am of Congolese origin. I have been in Merkplas for four months. I am a member of the opposition. I refused twice to be deported to Congo by force. The last time was on April 22nd 2012. I was handcuffed like a criminal and brought to the plane in Zaventem to be handed over to M. Hippolyte Kanambe Alias (Joseph Kabila) and his death agents in Kinshasa. Fortunately, there were 43 passengers on board who shouted and the captain asked the police to have me disembark the plane. On my return in their cell in Zaventem, 6 Belgian policemen beated and tortured me. I lodged a complaint against them to the registry of the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

A demonstration is being organised by the political Congolese opponents this 30th May at 01:00 p.m in front of Merksplas centre. (Call follows.)


M. May, Tunisian, detained for five months in closed centres, 127bis and then Vottem, who made a hunger strike, in Belgium since 1999, diabetic and in a wheel chair, extremely exhausted by his long detention, ended up giving up: he accepted a voluntary return and 250€.

A Congolese opponent, lucky to have a residence permit in France, finds himself imprisoned in Vottem. Belgium tries to send him back to  Kinshasa. The court is against that and calls for his return to France.

Life is awful in the closed centre of Bruges. According to visitors, it is the harshest. Testimonies are rare seen the isolation of the prisoners.

One man, detained in Bruges for 3 months and living in Belgium for 15 years sums up the situation:
“The living conditions are tough inside the centre : we are 20 people who sleep together, without privacy, it is very hard to sleep. Besides, there is the stress never to know when they may come and take you for deportation.” He is extremely angry against the Belgian system and denounces the unpredictable application of the regularisation procedures, the inhuman treatment “we are being treated like animals, imprisoned, although my police record is clean, I never did anything wrong”…


We heard that a collective flight will be organised on June 15th by Great-Britain to Kinshasa to deport Congolese people who had chosen to live in England: will the flight stop over in Brussels? 

On the web site, the new rubric “Ongoing deportations” and dreadful news here.


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