Testimony of a person detained in a closed centre and on hunger strike, December 2022.
In June 2020, we published an article on our website denouncing the double punishment. As a reminder, these are detainees whose papers are withdrawn following a conviction for a public order offence or who have been convicted of a minor offence (speeding, unpaid fines, etc). They are then re-arrested or transferred from prison to a closed centre for deportation. This practice allows the Office (OE) to send back to a so-called country of origin people who have been living in Belgium for years or were born there.
This is the case of a man who has been on hunger strike for 20 days in a closed centre. He is asking us to alert and is demanding his release. He is 40 years old and has lived in Belgium for 20 years. His whole family is settled here. After a stay in prison, he was transferred to a closed centre at the end of his sentence:
“I travel from one prison to another” – “Ik word verplaatst van de ene gevangenis naar de andere”
“Three weeks ago I was taken from the prison to the centre. Then I swallowed 2 and 1 euro coins. I was taken to the hospital but the doctors could not do anything. When I came back, I did not want to eat, I will stay on hunger strike until I am released. After 10 days, I was taken from this prison to another detention centre. I am constantly moving from one prison to another. I have already lost 10 kg and I have pain everywhere. It is terrible. Please help me. Tell everyone how things are going here. I have completed my sentence to the end. Why am I being punished a second time? Because I’m a foreigner? That’s discrimination.”
This person is doubly punished for what he is accused of. After serving his sentence, his residence permit is withdrawn and he is placed in a closed centre with a view to being repatriated to a country that is no longer his own. He is cut off from all her ties with Belgium and all his relatives. This is why we denounce the double penalty, which is racist and discriminatory. It is a practice that has been totally trivialised by the Migrant Office.
These practices are not rare. In November 2022, we published on our website the story of a person of Rwandan origin, who arrived in Belgium at a very young age and was deported because of public order problems. https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/victim-of-the-genocide-in-rwanda-at-the-age-of-6-and-expelled-to-the-same-country/
To go further on the subject of double penalties, an article published on our site and dating from 2020. Nothing has changed.https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/double-penalty-or-banishment-a-peculiar-method-of-racism/
NO to all forms of confinement
STOP to double punishment