On January 7, inmates at the 127bis detention center in Steenokkerzeel reported the death by hanging of one of their fellow inmates. The inmates were quickly transferred from one wing of the closed center to another, and the management is refusing to release any further information on the circumstances of the possible tragedy. While this information could not be confirmed, the fact remains that the violence and resulting tension are only increasing.
“They’re trying to hide the truth from us“, say the inmates.
On December 25, a man was found dead in the Merksplas detention center (near Antwerp). At the time, the management and the Aliens Office declared that the man had committed suicide. The man was unwell and had not been listened to by the health services at the closed center. A fellow inmate denounced: “It’s not just a suicide. People are being killed here. This is not normal.
Earlier in 2023, almost 11 months ago, Tamazi Rasoian died in the Merksplas detention centre in unclear circumstances, having been placed in an isolation cell. His family is still fighting for truth and justice.
These deaths and violences are the result of the authorities’ deadly and racist migration policies.
Confinement destroys both the mind and the body. Ever since these prisons came into being, the detainees have constantly denounced the scandalous conditions (lack of hygiene, rotten food, being put in solitary confinement on the slightest pretext, etc.) and the violence perpetrated during arrests, detention and deportation procedures, all with the complicity of our leaders. Some of the treatment (total isolation for months on end, psychological pressure, etc.) is tantamount to torture.
This inhumane state of affairs is the result of choices made by a capitalist and reactionary political class which, on the one hand, bases its finances on the exploitation of undocumented migrants and, on the other hand, hunts them down, locks them up and deports them in order to perpetuate their precarious situation.
When a man dies in a detention centre, the Belgian state and its representatives have blood on their hands.
This intolerable violence will not stop until a genuine policy of mass regularisation has been put in place and all the people locked up have been released.
On Friday 19 January, we are calling for a demonstration starting at Arts-Loi and stopping in front of the immigration office. Let’s get together to shout our indignation and anger at this institution, which cynically orchestrates detention and deportation policies in parallel with an increasingly harsh and arbitrary regularisation policy. We demand that the truth be brought to light about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of these detainees and of all those who have died in closed centres in the past.