They are all under pressure. Most of them do not dare having contacts with the outisde for fear of reprisals. They feel absolutely helpless. Some of them ended up accepting their deportation after the bullying by the staff of the Centre. The two collective flights for Congo and Guinea are being used as a threat. It has also been noticed that many lawyers give up and stop introducing appeals to free their clients. Some prisoners are asking for a wide movement from the outside in order to get them out of there.
VOTTEM Closed Centre
One wing of the Centre in four has been shut down due to a lack of personnel! Initially, in 1999, 160 places had been foreseen. Following trade union actions, this figure was reduced to 130. Due to the closing of one of the wings, 90 places remain. The associations in Liège are happy about the lack of interest for this kind of job in the region!
Ten days ago, an escape attempt with help from the outside failed during the night.
Mr Mohamed Chatli was secretly brought to the airport under a wide escort to be deported on April 12th. He is the man whose deportation had been prevented by a senator! Neither his lawyer nor himself had been warned of this deportation. He was taken away from the Vottem closed centre two hours before the flight, probably in order to avoid any mobilisation. We haven’t heard anything from Mr Chatli and his girlfriend since then.
127bis Closed Centre
An Iraki prisoner tries to commit suicide with a razor blade he got from the administration to avoid his deportation the day after. The guards apparently came on time to prevent him from doing so.
Another man said that his social assistant informed him today (the day before the first deportation attempt) on a very important legislative change: from now on there would not be any second ‘voluntary’ deportation attempt but a special secured flight would systematically be organised as of the second attempt, with a prohibition of residence on the Belgian territory for five years. Another intimidatory measure by the social staff of the Foreign Office, we are very close to moral harassment here…
One bus and two mini buses arrived at 5.10 am on April 17th in the Centre’s courtyard to bring a group of Moroccans (number and identities still unknown) to Zaventem. No other information.
Escape of an Iraki man during a consultation at the hospital on April 16th. Perhaps the man continued his way, seeking for a more hospitable place to stay.
One Congolese man deported this April 18th. After several intimidatory measures, he finally accepted his deportation to Congo.
A lady, imprisoned for almost six months, got the visit of her grand-children. She was shocked by the personnel’s behaviour; one of her grand-children was forbidden to go to the toilet during the visit.
In 127bis, it is the ‘every man for himself’ that actually rules.