Testimony of a violent expulsion by military flight (cargo)

Testimony of a violent expulsion by military flight (cargo)

[TW police violence]    

Over the last few months, we have been in regular contact with a person of Djiboutian nationality who was detained at the Caricole detention centre for almost four and a half months. She had applied for asylum in Belgium. As is often the case, her fears about returning to her country of origin were deemed unfounded by the General Commissariat for Refugees and Stateless Persons. She had already been the victim of police violence during a first deportation attempt, which led to a strong movement of support from the other detainees. https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/a-rare-collective-protest-at-the-caricole-detention-centre-after-police-violence/

She was recently deported by surprise and tells us:       

“The Belgian police aren’t human, not at all. It was 9 o’clock in the morning, I was in Caricole and asleep. Security came and told me that the social worker wanted to see me. I went and he told me that I had a direct flight. I was scared, so I told him I was going to court on Monday. He said, “No, it’s now.” 

I wanted to pack my bags, but I was told I couldn’t, that security was going to bring me all my stuff. I don’t know if I got all my clothes back. I asked them to call my lawyer. They told me they’d tried but he hadn’t picked up. I asked for my phone and was told: “Not now, I’ll give it to you later”. 

At 10:45 I was on my way to the airport. At the airport, the police said that the flight was finally at 6pm and they took me back to the centre. I asked to go to my room and have my phone. I was told: “No, you have to go to the solitary cell”. I refused and the director was called. She confirmed that I had to stay in isolation. I’m doing Ramadan and I hadn’t been able to eat in the morning. I wasn’t given anything until 3.45pm, not even water. 

I went back to the airport and was put in a police cell. The police said to me: “Now you’re going to leave for your country”. I said, “No, I can’t, I’m going to court on Monday”. They said, “No, it’s over”. They called the doctor and the nurse who checked my blood pressure and they said it was stable. I stayed there until 5.45pm.

Then eight or ten policemen arrived, one woman and the rest men. They grabbed me, handcuffed my hands and feet behind my back. My back exploded. I was screaming and they were hitting me. They put a belt on me. They took me to a lorry and threw me in, grabbing me by the belt. The handcuffs were very tight. One policeman put his foot on my head to stop me moving. The other three kicked me in the back. They took me to a cargo plane. There were no passengers. There were two policemen, Ethiopians I think, who hit me and slapped me. It was like that all the way to Addis Ababa. There they took the handcuffs off me. I asked not to be taken to Djibouti airport because of the immigration police. They let me go to Addis Ababa. 

I’m still in a lot of pain because of all this. I’m taking medication but I haven’t been able to go to hospital because the police mustn’t know where I am. I’m in danger. I don’t make direct calls to my family for fear of being tapped. I can’t go out, I can’t go into town. If the police see me, I’ll go to prison. I don’t know what will happen to my life. I have to live in hiding. I have to stay hidden forever. My life is turned upside down.” 


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