On Tuesday 6th of June 2017, a Senegalese named Medoune Ndiaye, member of la Voix des Sans Papiers (VSP) de Bruxelles (The Voice of the Undocumented – Brussels), was deported on a Brussels Airlines flight to Dakar. He was arrested end of March in Virton and retained in the closed centre for foreigners in Vottem (Liège). Retention conditions similar to prisons’, lack of information regarding his retention, his arrest during which he was beaten up (broken finger), lack of medical care (refusal to give him analgesics), withholding information on his medical file, repeated intimidations by the closed centre’s staff and the police… Closed centres for foreigners are deportation machines. To prepare these deportations, one has to break up the retainees’ resistance through imprisonment, psychological torture until applying a confinement measure, which Medoune experienced during several days.
The Foreigners Office very quickly delivered a deportation order. The Senegalese embassy then granted a let pass without any investigation nor contact with Medoune. After a first deportation attempt, Medoune Ndiaye was driven to the airport on 6th June. A dozen policemen were waiting for him. He asked to speak with his lawyer in the context of an appeal procedure against the police of Liège. This right was denied to him on the grounds that the complaint would have been withdrawn; which is false. This was followed by threats and violence. A policeman held him on the ground, another one sat down on him and several others beat him; preventing him from breathing until Medoune passed out. In the meantime, he was tied and handcuffed without noticing. Forced to get on the plane with two policemen threatening him: ‘Even if you die, you are going back home’; he could hear them speak with the captain in Dutch. Medoune then struggled and broke objects around him. Both policemen beat him again. Nobody in the plane, neither the staff nor the passengers did intervene. An air hostess had asked him to calm down, saying that recently another man had been beaten, that he had had broken teeth and that they had deported him even though he was bleeding. Before landing, the two policemen mentioned a possible medical care once in Dakar. Handcuffed, he was brought to the Senegalese authorities represented by the gendarmerie. A fake file concerning him was mentionned, accusing him of several thefts in markets, and of robberies in Belgium. This document had been written in Dutch. Medoune requested a copy but it was refused. He also questioned the gendarmerie that do not oppose to receiving a document in a foreign language, accepting it without wondering about his obvious bad physical state. Then Medoune got angry at the gendarmes who in turn threatened him of imprisonment. Two passengers interferred to defend him so that he could leave the place without being charged. The gendarmes refused to call an ambulance and asked him to go away and find a way to go alone to the hospital.
Two broken ribs, the body molested and bruised, he was also stolen half of the money he had as well as his mobile phone, without knowing when it all happened.
Here are the concrete results of the policy implemented by Théo Francken, consisting in closing borders and in deporting 1000 more people each yar, increasing the retentions! Many decisions directly concerning the undocumented are being taken by European and national authorities, and their lack of transparency and democratic nature is not to be demonstrated any longer.
The members of the group VSP, among whom Thierno Malik (still retained in Vottem) and Medoune Ndiaye, directly pay the price of it. Lastly, other groups of undocumented also were subject to reasserted repression. When European leaders boast the promotion of peace and human rights throughout the world, the undocumented of Europe hide and follow the walls. Actually, this policy doesn’t care about human dignity and about rights which are supposedly inalienable.
We question the Senegalese, Belgian and European authorities on these facts, and we call the citizens to denounce with us these raids, retention conditions, ‘administrative’ retentions and deportations. We support Medoune Ndiaye as well as all the other retainees in closed centres (men, women and children) in their fight for justice, freedom and dignity that they lead courageously.
First signatories: Voix des sans-papiers Bruxelles, SOS Migrants