Arad Camp (Romania): handcuffed and beaten for a lighter

Arad camp, stories collected on the 26/03/2012

Open Access campaign

Migreurop has been in contact with Arad detention centre detainees in Romania for several weeks. They had already reported about their situation on 8 March 2012: Arad Camp (Romania): “we are in hell”. Events were organised nationally by organisations, activists and journalists following the dissemination of this first account. This resulted in different media trying to access Arad detention centre last week to report on the situation. The media were denied access. Yesterday, detainees contacted Migreurop to tell about the situation after this event and especially about what happened on Saturday, 24 March 2012 (see below).

European Alternatives and Migreurop , in the framework of the
Open Access campaign for unconditional access for organisations and the media in detention camps, in Europe and beyond, are very concerned by the situation of Arad detainees and ask the Romania Immigration Office to grant access to journalists and other individuals and organisations who may wish to enter the centre.

« Last week, on Wednesday 21 March, some journalists came and tried to enter the detention centre to visit us but the director refused. We called them from the windows and asked them to come in but they were not allowed to.

This week-end, we felt we were being punished because of that. We were given even less permission to leave our cells and go to the corridor; on Saturday, we were allowed out for 30 or 45 minutes. We were not allowed to buy cigarettes either. The water was cut on Saturday. One of the detainees who has been held in the centre for a long time told us we were heading for trouble, because some gendarmerie officers with tear gas had just arrived. Whenever they come to the centre, it is because they intend to beat us and gas us. They are not here all the time; they only come when there is tension in the centre. They came on Saturday.

At some point, on the same day, one of the detainees who was in his cell asked for a lighter to smoke a cigarette. He was not given one, and he got angry. It is worth mentioning that this gentleman is not mentally stable, he should not be here; he is very fragile psychologically. Two officers then opened the door, one of them pushed the co-detainee (who was sharing the cell with this man) on the ground. Meanwhile, the man who had asked for a lighter had his hands cuffed behind his back. Then they beat him badly. It was a massacre. We heard him shout for about a minute. Then the officers left him in his cell. They closed the door, and left. This man could not walk for the whole week-end. His head was swollen, his nose had bled and his entire body was covered with bruises. He did not get access to any medical care.

People are feeling bad in this camp, it drives them crazy. Those who “cracked up” the most were transferred to another detention centre, in Otopeni.

We need help.”

Arad detainees

Press contact: 0033 1 53 27 87 81