hearing on the custody of foreigners
the border-prison: 'Grenshospitium'
Removal (Deportation) Camp Ter Apel
judicial complex Willem II in Tilburg
Amir from Iran, a personal story
Makun'a', a personal story
"Everything O.K.?", a personal story
Amir from Iran, the story
Amir Bohram Mazloom is a refugee from Iran, who sought political asylum in the Netherlands- but without success;
his case was denied. He was supposed to report to the Aliens Police on May 17th 1996 at 9 o'clock in the morning- but didn't show up. Two hours later the Aliens Police arrested him at the Refugee Center and he was imprisoned in the House of Detention in Zoetermeer.
Hungerstrike and isolation
On May 20th, Amir started a hungerstrike, as a protest against his imminent deportation to Iran. His condition deteriorated quickly, and he was transported to the Prison Hospital in Scheveningen, where he fell into a coma. The hospital gave him an infusion, he regained some of his strenght and was brought back to the House of Detention in Zoetermeer. Amir continued his hungerstrike. On July 29th he was transferred to another House of Detention, the Willem II in Tilburg. There he was threatened with solitary confinement, if he didn't give up his hungerstrike. He was isolated in the so-called X-department for the standard period of 14 days, which was then prolonged for another 14 days.
The Willem II House of Dentention has a protocol for hunger- and thirst-strikes. The governor devised it and is responsible for its execution. The protocol stipulates that the watertap is to be turned off, if a prisoner wants water he has to ring a bell and ask for it. This waterregime is meant to monitor the amount of water that a hungerstriking prisoner is taking in, and to check if a thirststriker is really not drinking!
In our opinion, turning off the watertap seems a dangerous thing to do, water is a basic need that everyone should have free access to. There shouldn't be any bells, guards, waiting-time and dependency on others for such a basic need. We reported this waterregime and Amir's solitary confinement to the 'European Commission for the prevention of torture and inhumane or humiliating treatment or punishment'. Even so, Amir's watertap was closed off, only after a complaint to the Supervision Board, was it opened again.
After official complaints to the Supervision Board, Amir's isolation-regime was suddenly changed. He remains in solitary confinement, but is now allowed to work, exercise and watch TV. The governor does not allow Amir to have any contact with other inmates. Many so-called Illegal Aliens are put in an isolationcell as a measure of punishment. It's called solitary confinement, separation, taking in for observation but for the prisoner it means utter isolation and loneliness. Governor F”llings talking about Amir's case: 'we have only one type of cell in this prison. If we isolate people it's called an isolationcell and if we observe people it's called an observationcell' (Brabants Dagblad, August 20th 1996).
4 1/2 months imprisonment
On september 30th Amir was due back in court for his request for release after 4 1/2 months in prison. He lost his case.
Amir had already made a second asylum-request because of new circumstances; his friend was murdered in prison in Iran and the same could happen to him after deportation. The Justice-department's decision was negative, due to lack of evidence prooving the killing had actually happened. His lawyer appealed to this decision and requested a temporary provision. The decision still has to be made.
In the mean time, Amir remains in prison though he did not back out of his obligation to report. The argument to arrest him: 'the strong suspicion that he'll try to escape his deportation' can not be a reason for imprisonment. Other Iraneans in similar cases are allowed to wait for their decision in the Refugee Centers. On the grounds of his similar situation, Amir should be granted the same permission.
Iran is unsafe, also for Amir
The justice department is presently studying about 300 files of Iraneans who were expelled by the Swedish state. Apparently, the Justice Department has its doubts about expulsions to Iran, otherwise they wouldn't have reason to study or monitor these cases. In many debates and reports Iran's human rights records are questioned, by Amnesty International, refugees' rights groups, NGO's and religious organizations. Despite this, the justice department continues its deportations, on the grounds of a brief summary report a civil servant of Foreign Affairs once made. Amir is a member of an organization which is forbidden in Iran, for his membership he could go to prison for 3 to 5 years.
During a visit by us and two other organizations, Vuurdoop and Prime, Amir spoke of his anquish, every footstep he hears from outside his cell makes him fear for his possible deportation to Iran. We wrote letters to politicians, the civil servants who make the decisions at the justice department, we appealed to the media to bring Amir's case and his longlasting hungerstrike to the attention of the public. He wrote a letter to the public himself. Everyday counts, Amir is getting weaker and weaker. He's terrified for deportation and is persisting in his hungerstrike.