« We need help, we are more than fifty detainees in the Arad detention centre, Romania. We are asylum seekers and they put us in detention
Some have been here for a month, others for 7, 8, 9 months. We are a group of men and one pregnant woman.
We are badly treated, worse than animals. The detention guards are beating us up, badly. This happens often. For example, Tuesday this week, on 6 March 2012, some policemen wanted to spray tear gas on one detainee, we don’t even know why. They brought him to the isolation cell, downstairs, to beat him up. We heard him shout from our cells.
We are detained 24h/7. We can only leave our cells and walk in the corridor one to two hours a day. We are denied access to outside walks, to the TV, we cannot be sent money from our families using Western Union. We are systematically given the same food over and over again. We have no access to a doctor. If one of us falls sick, we are helpless. Right now, many of us suffer from skin problems, it’s hitchy, it’s painfull, but nobody is taking care of us.
Once we wanted to go on hunger strike to tell we could not stand this any more! We asked for our rights. That day, they asked gendarmerie officers, wearing balaclavas, to come. We were locked up in our cells, they sprayed pepper gas on us through the window of our door’s cell. Then they opened the door, and we have all been beaten. They even broke one detainee’s arm and nose.
All of this is making us terribly nervous, we can’t stand it any more. You must experience it to be able to understand. Some are so much overwrought that they attempt suicide. This happened to one of the detainees who was feeling very down and wanted to slash his wrists. The policemen brought him a knife telling him “with that you’ll make it”.
We have nothing to do it, no activity, this is also aggressive to the nerves system.
Detention in Romania can last 18 months. 18 months like that is unbereable! What we are going through cannot be imagined. We could not make someone believe we are in Europe. 18 months in a cage! The heating has been recently cut off, with sleep with our coats on. The shower does not function any more, we are nearly sleeping on the bed base as mattress are in such a bad state”.
We are in hell”.
Detainees from Arad detention centre (Romania)