In the beginning of march, we visited our friend Mohammed (for security reasons anonymous name) in a deportation Camp in Nyírbátor in Hungary. He is a refugee from Algeria and was crossing the serbian-hungarian border, when he was caught by the hungarian border police. They detained him in a closed camp, also called ‘Immigration Detention’ for six months. After six months, which is the maximum stay time, he was moved to the deportation camp.
Originally published by Linksunten
The report about the visit of our friend in the closed camp in december 2016 can be found here.
Because we know that it is literally the same as a prison, we knew about the high security level there. As we were searched, before we were allowed to see our friend, the policeman who coordinated the visit, explained it like this: “as you might know, it is a ‘state of terror threat’, so we have to check your bags, just to be sure…”. His statement just showed us, how they put everyone in general suspicion of terrorism. It turned out that while speaking to our friend, we were not allowed to stay in the same room with him and had to communicate with each other through a glass window. Even though Mohammed had stated that he asked permission from the commander the day before, and other prisoners were allowed to speak with their visitors in the same room, without the police interfering, the police officers hadn’t received the permisson- or at least that’s what they stated to us – so we could only speak to him through this window while one or two officers constantly stood behind him in the room. It seemed to us as if they had arranged it this way arbitrarily, maybe because – as we have heard – our friend had some conflicts with some of the detention centre’s staff members before. Mohammed had demonstrated before on different ways against the inhuman treatment inside of the closed camp and inside of the deportation camp. One way, for example, was a hungerstrike. The officers, however, tried to act as if they were not responsible for this, and kept pointing at the absent commander, while one of them saying “this is not Serbia, as you know. We have to conform to European norms.” What ever they mean with „Eurpoean norms“.
We were also able to speak to another prisoner, Ali (anonymous for security reasons) as well. Ali is also a refugee from Algeria. While we had a break during the two meetings, the coordinating policeman behaved as if he tried to interrogate us. He was wondering whether we were from an organization, and when we said no, he expressed his surprise how is it possible that a German and a Hungarian person visit some Algerian people “just like that”, and he started to ask questions about what we are working, and asked the Hungarian person if she is, or has been living abroad.
The same policeman also didn’t miss the chance to inform us about the fact how insolent our friend is, that last time he had said bad words to them in Hungarian, (even though he didn’t describe the context of the incident), he also had some comments about the way Arabic people speak (stating that they communicate in a too loud manner, not like us, Europeans). While he said that we could hear policemen shouting in the background. He also shared with us his negative opinion about migration in general, stating that “if millions of strangers come here, where will be the place for us?”, and that they are only economic migrants, who are just seeking better opportunities in richer countries than their own. The whole time he was saying this fascist bullshit, he had this creepy smile on his face as if he knows everything and and is telling us naive idiots the truth. Of course, the fact that none of the staff members speak English or any languages other than Hungarian doesn’t lead to a better understanding between the prisoners and the officers in charge of guarding them.
It was difficult to hear what Mohammed and Ali were saying, because the window (actually a thick pane with only some holes in it) took away most of the sound, and the policemen in the background were also speaking to each other. Anyway, it was clear that they were living in poor conditions.
Mohammed told us that it was impossible for him to live in his country anymore, and he will try to come to Europe again, in another way. He and his friend have several scars on their bodies, showing their desperate state of mind. His arms are full of scars, the mark of cuts and burns caused by putting out cigarettes on his own body. Ali even has a self-made tattoo on his arm, the initial letter of the name of the village where the detention centre is, so he would “remember it forever”. Instead of being allowed to live a free, self-determined life, these young men had to face hell when they entered Europe. Ali has been detained in other countries as well, simply because he was seeking asylum. He has been in Hungary before: 2014 he came the same way through the balkans and made it to Germany. He lived there for one year. After that he decided to go to Austria. There he was detained after two months. Austria deported him after several months directly into the Hungarian Deportation Camp, where we just met him. When we visited them, Ali has been detained there for almost half a year, and after the maximum of six months detention, he was deported back to Algeria last week. They have harmed themselves in order to repress the much stronger psychological pain and suffering, the constant feeling of being humiliated and degraded and deprived of their freedom, even though they have committed no crimes.
Our friends are experiencing the direct results of the austerity of fortress Europe, where humans are less worth than money, and where capital can move freely, but humans can not. Instead of solidarity, the imprisoned refugees experience the systematic discrimination and injustice by the police night and day. Last week, Ali and Mohammed were both deported to Algeria. But they will try to come to Europe again, because for them it’s impossible to live in Algeria. They are looking for a place to live in peace and freedom. Nobody has the right to choose for you where you have to live, how you have to live. It is power over other people. This power is unjust, wrong and kills people!
Freedom of Movement! No Deportations! And No Borders!
Solidarity with all imprisoned Refugees in Hungary and all over the planet!