Picture of a retainee once released and remark by his host: “They released him giving him the direction of the train station, without documents’.
He arrived like this, with two numbers around his wrist (one from the police, the other from the centre).
19 people were brought to the federal police in Steenokkerzeel in order to be identified. Almost all of them were released, with or without a lawyer, after 4 days of retention. A last one was released on 21 November 2018 and an ‘unlucky one’ is still being retained. He refuses to be assisted by a lawyer: ‘
M – story of the arrests in Arlon in the night of 13 till 14 November 2018
That night, we got on a truck. Around 6 a.m., the driver woke up. He must have felt our presence because he opened the door and found us. We got down and he called the police.
We are four. We walked deep into the forest, where one can sleep. Two remained a bit aside. Those who were already asleep did not hear us coming. When the other two joined us, they warned us that the police was coming.
Someone said it was useless to run away and try to escape, that the problem would remain the same. Two policemen arrived, then two more, and two more again, etc.The police asked everyone to wear their shoes. They divided us into four vans and three cars and drove us to the police station in Arlon.
There, we were searched and locked by three during three hours. We all got a bracelet with a number to put around our wrist.
When a policeman came, we heard someone banging on their cell’s door. The policeman was told that this person was asking for water because they had kidneys’ problems. The policeman answered that they could go out and drink after 10 minutes.
They drove us till the centre of the airport in a big bus escorted by two police cars. We got a bottle of water and a cheese sandwhich.
At the centre, they searched us again (in knickers), and placed us in cells by four. Someone in plainclothes spoke Arabic. He asked for my name and nationality and made me sign a paper. I ignore if it was written in French or Dutch. I signed without asking what it was. The man speaking Arabic told me it was a mere formality to enter the centre. There again, I got a bracelet with a number to put around my wrist.
After an hour or so, a policeman came for me. In a room, he took my fingerprints and a picture of me. He then did the same with all the others.
The day after, around 11-12 a.m a policeman called us myself and another man. He told us that we were free. He opened the door of the centre and he said: ‘At the end ofthe street, on the left, after 30 minutes walk, you will find the train station…’. We walked and took the train to go back to Brussels. Others were released laterand dropped in front of the Foreigners Office.
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND SETTLEMENT FOR ALL