28 January 2011 – Telephone interview with a detainee during an action in front of the Merksplas detention centre
Listen to the interview (FR) :
I am in the centre, so I’ll tell you my story. I submitted my application for a ’9bis’ (residence permit for exceptional circumstances) so I could get my papers, I have the right to do so as I have lived here for 6 years. And instead they brought me here. They told me that I don’t have enough proof. I have another friend who has lots of proof, but they still gave him a negative response and brought him here too.
They came into my house and searched through everything, they brought me and my friend here along with lots of others from our neighbourhood. They took my fingerprints, but they found nothing on me, except that I had submitted my documents to remain here. They said to me: “You were rejected, sorry!” I assure you I have never been in a prison, it is really affecting me badly, I don’t deserve to be here! They keep you here for about two months and then they send you back to your country! But I don’t have anything left over there, I can’t go back, I have lived here for six years… I am Algerian.
In Europe, you can stay in a detention centre for 20 days, one month maximum. But there are people who have been here for four months or four and a half months, and even some for five months! It’s not normal, you go crazy! It’s not good! Honestly there are no human rights here! It is very difficult, we are not criminals, we are just human beings! We want freedom! I really don’t understand, I am not a thief, I have a job!
Please help us! Send a message to the Belgian state to sort out the problem!
Seriously, if I deserved it I would say “OK”… but I don’t deserve it, I have done nothing! I have a clean conscience; there are lots of people here who have done nothing wrong while real criminals get to wander free! I really don’t know what to say! You are always stressed, you never sleep, honestly, I don’t know what to say…