The terrifying flight AT-833 from Brussels to Casablanca

The story of a deportation

[TW police violence]

Five people, three men and two women, were deported on a commercial flight on 18 June 2024, escorted by 28 police officers.

We had been warned that a Moroccan woman would be forcibly deported on this date on flight AT-833 (Royal Air Maroc) to Casablanca.

We learned that on this flight, there were a total of five detainees tied up (two women and three men), “accompanied” by 28 plainclothes police officers – commonly known as “escorts” when they perform this function. The police officers escorted them until their arrival in Casablanca.

We learn that these five people were violently taken on board before the passengers arrived, at the back of the plane.

We learn that one of the men who resisted deportation had bruises all over his body on arrival in Casablanca.

This testimony from a man who met them on their arrival in Casablanca attests to this: 

“A young man in his thirties with a pale face and eyeballs surrounded by blue and red, with a broken tooth (an incisor), was taken off the plane in Casablanca. I learned that he had been the victim of torture and aggression just before he was taken out of his cell after five days in the detention centre next to Zaventem airport. His body showed signs of beatings, spotted almost everywhere in dark blue and red. Tied up by his hands and feet, he was carried to his seat on the plane, where he continued to be beaten and crushed. On the plane, his eyes were pressed with his fingers in an excruciating manner. The police covered his face with a blanket and several times they tried to strangle him.”

Finally, we learn that another detainee, who was tied to his seat, had a glassy, almost sleepy, totally absent look in his eyes, suggesting that a substance had been administered without his knowledge to put him in this state.

One woman was handcuffed and had pressure applied to her chest. To this day, she still has marks of blows all over her body and is psychologically very traumatised. In addition, this woman suffers from a serious chronic illness and has not been given the medication she needs.

As for the second woman on the plane, her family still has no news of her, which is very worrying.

They tell us:

     “My heart is full of hatred.”

     “How much is all this costing you? 28 return tickets for the escort, all to do harm.”

     “Do the human rights authorities know about this?”

These stories of unspeakable violence have been pieced together thanks to the support of relatives of the people concerned and the courage of the victims who testified. This raises the question of all the expulsions and attempted expulsions of which we may never be informed.

Belgium is deploying astronomical material, human and financial resources to implement a so-called “return” policy that is only human in name, with the complicity of the airlines. 

Our solidarity goes out to the victims of these acts of torture, committed by state officials with complete impunity.

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