17/12/2018: The merry-go-round of retentions/releases of the exiles caught in train stations and parkings all over the country goes on.
In November only, 73 arrests have been reported by hosts. Sixty were released in the following days, generally thanks to the rapid intervention by lawyers who introduced emergency appeals to the CCE.(Conseil du Contentieux des Etrangers)
Among the exiles in transit in Belgium, we count, basing our figures on the reports by the platform’s hosts:
127bis closed centre: 35 transit exiles retained
Caricole closed centre : 3
Bruges closed centre : 51
Merkplas closed centre: 7
Vottem closed centre : 8
and as far as we know, 12 exiles have been imprisoned
The Foreigners Office at work
-In order to avoid these appeals, one of the Office’s strategies is to have their workers in the centre say that the fact of resorting to a lawyer will prevent their release.
Remark by a lawyer: ‘it is important to warn that some social assistants claim that a release will be possible as long as they do not take any lawyer, which is obviously totally false.’
Words by a host: ‘there are rumours in closed centres that you have less chances to be released if you take a lawyer, hence retainees do not sign the famous discharding paper.’
Practically, the absence of a lawyer will prevent an appeal to their arrest in front of the CCE. The exile will remain retained in view of a deportation in the following weeks.’
– another manoeuvre by the OFfice is to withhold information on the presence of the people retained in the centres. For example, 8 Syrians were retained in the 127bis. The reception of the centre repeatedly confirmed that they were not there. Thanks to the perseverance of hosts and lawyers, we could trace them (and they effectively were being retained in the centre!) and an appeal was introduced on time for most of them.
A few testimonies from closed centres on the violence ussed during retentions and deportations on undocumented or asylum seekers:
Testimony 1 : a man retained in the Vottem closed centre tells us: ‘they came to fetch him to isolate him for a first deportation attempt. He had not been warned and could therefore warn nobody. He was rather confident since he had been released already three times by the tribunal. The morning after, a dozen policemen came to pick him up in his confinement cell, they tied him and drove him to the airport. He was deported under coercion to his country of origin.’
Testimony 2 :
« I was driven to my embassy to get a let pass in view of my deportation. The embassy refused. After this, the Office made an appointment in three other embassies: Cameroon, Central African Republic and Burkina Faso. They really want to get rid of me!
Testimony 3 :
We received several testimonies by coretainees in the Caricole closed centre regarding the deportation of a woman:
« The social assistant came to tell her she had to take her stuff and leave to the airport’
« It was the first deportation attempt on her and they had not warned her.’
« They isolated her during the night and had her breathe gas during her sleep so that she would not protest during her deportation.’
The lawyer was outraged that they dared deporting her that way. She will introduce an appeal to the ECHR (European Court on Human Rights).
In front of the repression and the deporting machine, let’s organise against the State and the borders!
In front of a State doing raids, deporting and repressing: let’s organise!