On May 19th 2016, an ambulance escorted by three police cars took away a Pakistani who had been on a hunger strike for 37 days. The retainees were shouting at the police, after which several of them ended up placed into confinement.
A lot of retainees are isolated as soon as the guards deem they are not behaving ‘well’. Hence, as soon as someone claims for freedom (which regularly happens since the Steenrock festival against closed centres that took place on the 7th of May in front of the centre), 10 guards appear and take them to a confinement cell.
A young man, with skin disease, was brought to an empty room to be ‘cured’ and then directly taken away for his deportation to Spain. Despite his prayers, he didn’t have the right to get his stuff back (even not his mobile phone) in his room, nor was he allowed to say goodbye to his friends. Fifteen people witnessed this flash deportation.
“Since the 8 years that I have been living in Belgium I had never seen Belgium like this’. According to B., retainees are treated like animals, ‘worse than in Africa’ he says. When he is searched, he keeps repeating to the guards that he is a human being and that he is not a criminal. He obliged a guard to put his belongings back into his tray after the latter had taken all out in order to search it. The guard didn’t want to do it but one superior came and asked him to put everything back in place.
According to a third testimony, another striker had asked to be isolated because he couldn’t stand the noise anymore. When he was in confinement, the guards were coming every hour 24/24 to switch on the light, wake him up and ask him if he was all right. Isn’t it what they call torture according to human rights standards?
On the opposite, two men who had shared direct testimonies during the Steenrock festival have been released, as well as a woman who had been imprisoned at the Caricole and who had got the visit of a parliamentarian.
Since the general hunger strike started on 28th of April, to express the general exasperation in front of the retentions, a lot of repression has taken place in the centres, with transfers, isolations and deportations. A lot of retainees continue to fight against the bad treatments they receive in the centre and to claim for their release!
In solidarity with the fights in the centres and for the release of everybody!