UPDATE – Bruges detention centre and access to healthcare

While on June 18th we reported on the violence suffered by detainees at the Bruges detention centre https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/closed-centre-brugge-appeal/, we have since learned of other unacceptable incidents of mistreatment and violence. 
Mr M., who has been on hunger and thirst strike for over fourty days, has been subjected to violent and degrading treatment from the moment he arrived at the Bruges detention centre. He told us that he was forced to eat or risk being locked up in solitary confinement: “It was either the solitary confinement or the meal. They locked me up six times, each time I refused to eat”.

He was also allegedly forced to undergo medical treatment, locked up for three consecutive days in isolation until he agreed to have his blood drawn. This is contrary to the medical code of ethics (art. 20). 

On his return from a release hearing, he explained that he had been brought back by six police officers, locked up and stripped naked in solitary confinement, and then forced to sign documents under blackmail, threatened with isolation.
He was refused appropriate medical treatment because the centre’s doctor deemed him to be “non-collaborative”; facing the incessant blackmail of isolation, Mr M. told us that he no longer trusted any of the centre’s staff, whether nursing or non-therapeutic. 

This feeling of mistrust towards healthcare staff has already been reported to us by others, aggravating the lack of adequate and appropriate care in a prison context where access to care and patients’ rights are already compromised.

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