October 25 2019


Different sources told us about brutal and inhuman treatment inflicted on at least two women by airport police during attempted deportations.

We visited the Holsbeek detention centre for migrant women, opened in July 2019 in a former low-cost hotel within an industrial park. At present 28 women are detained in the centre, which is expected to hold up to 58.

In the centre, we met a woman detained since 1 October, who explained that she had been arrested by the police at home at 6.00 am. Unsettled, she gave the police her passport and her “orange card” which was still valid for 4 months. She was taken away without receiving an arrrest warrant or any explanation for her arrest, despite being the mother of a 6 year-old child. She was not given access to an interpreter or a lawyer. Since 1 october, she has not seen her son.

As she spoke to us, she often stopped and cried. She told us about the violence inflicted on her during the deportation attempt at Charleroi airport on 18 October 2019. She was taken to the airport police station in handcuffs. The police told her that “she had to go back” but she dif not want to be deported and crief. She felt weak and fell to the floor, “maroccan theatrics” say the police, and began to kick her. Crying, she explained that she had a child, but they continued to kick her and told her “you are a big baby”. Three policemen kept her handcuffed but left suddenly when they realised there was a camera in the room. She was left on the floor. Through the door they kept mocking and laughing at her. The detention centre driver witnessed the scene.

We saw marks on her body. She told us that she was also slapped and kicked in the face. Since this happened, she has not been able to eat. She kept breaking down in tears, especially when speaking about her son. She was afraid the police might arrest him at school. We think her psychological state is alarming.

Her story illustrates the way the police use extreme brutality against a vulnerable person, apparently without consequence. Physical violence is accompanied by verbal insults and humiliation. This can only be described as torture (1).


We met a second woman, an African, who testified about her own horrific experience.

Acts of violence were committed against her at the Brussels National Airport where she was held in a room without windows “like a prison”, with just a toilet and a camera. She was confronted by 5 policemen and one police woman, all in uniform. She was stripped so roughly that her clothes were torn and her necklace was ripped from her neck. They asked her why she was in Belgium and whenshe answerd that she was going to get married and did not want to be deported, they responded “you must go”. Handcuffed, seized firmly by the back of the neck, her feet were tied, and her hands strappeto her torso. She was carried to the plane like a human sausage, one policeman on each side carrying her by the arme, and one carrying her feet. She could see that they were worried somebody would see them. They were ready to hide what they were doing

She was seated right at the back of the plane in the last row with one policeman on her left, and one on her right, her body still completely tied. One of the policemen violently seized her neck and folded her body forwards, sticking her head between the legs of the policeman seated on the other side of her. He kept pushing down on her head. When she tried to call out for help a policeman put his hand over her mouth and squeezed her neck. Choking, panicking and coughing, she struggled for air. She was in considerable pain. The policemen kept the pressure on her and especially on her throat – for about anhour, she thinks. When she tried to scream “God help me” they hit her mouth and nose.

The three other police were standing close by in order to keep the passengers away from the scene but the stewardesses could see what was happening. They did not say anything “but they saw everything”, she told us. Finally, the pilot arrived and told the police to stop the deportation. They left the plane with her and she was untied.

Once again she found herself in the same room and still with the same 5 police officers. She asked “is it because I don’t have papers that you want to kill me?” The answer was “yes, go back to Africa” and they slapped her face and hit her all over.

By then, it was 12.00 midday. She was held in the same room until about 6.00 pm. She had left the centre at 7.00 am and had not received anything to eat or drink since the previous evening. We sawthe marks of her beating, marks left by the handcuffs. The back of her neck was veru sore and swolen.

We denounce all such violent, shameless, horrible acts, committed by officials, public employees, paid to exercise violence against vulnerable people, behind closed doors, without any control. Such acts cannot take place without the knowledge and approval of the institutions and authorities responsible for those who perpetrate them.
We denounce this institutional racism, violence and torture (1) and demand the end of these practices.

NO MORE STATE MURDERS! These are the same practices that killed Semira Adamu 21 years ago!
No deportation !

1”The term ‘torture’ means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionnally inflicted on a person for such purpose as (…) punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person (…) or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind , when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity (…) “. Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against torture and other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.


Migrants libres
Campagne Brussels Airlines Stop Deportations
SINAC (Solidarity is not a crime)
Agir pour la Paix
Bruxelles Panthères
SOS Migrants
Campagne stop Répression, Les JOC
(Jeunes organisé.e.s et Combatifs) et la Nouvelle Voie Anticoloniale
souhaitons co-signer
Campagne “Stop Répression”

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