UPDATE, 11.37: This morning, around 9 am, the doctor has visited mister Bah. “He has been heavily abused”, she says. “He has a big bump on his forehead, and a cut in his right cheeck, caused by a pen the guard was using. He has bruised on his forehead and his temple.” The ministry of Justice stated that Bah himself was being violent, but according to the doctor he is “barely able to walk”, because of his weakened condition. Since Friday noon he has not eaten or drinken anything. Apart from the visit this morning, he has not had any medical care.
Bah demands to see images of the camera that filmed the abuse in his cell, but the management says the camera was not working when it happened. The doctor was not allowed to take pictures of Bah this morning, when she visited him. She thinks he will be transported to the prison hospital in Scheveningen this afternoon.
Today the doctor will report to the police about abuse and obstruction of medical care.
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Last Monday the Guinean refugee mister Bah has been severely beaten by a guard in detention centre Rotterdam for the second time. Around 17:00 he was transferred to the high security prison in Vught. He has not had any access to medical care yet. His confidential doctor was not allowed to visit him either.
Mister Bah has been on thirst strike for five days now; last Saturday TV show Nieuwsuur broadcasted the news of his abuse by the guards. Monday afternoon he told his medical adviser over the phone what happened: “I was served breakfast, but I refused. Then the guard hit me in the face and he insulted me. He freaked out and started to hit and kick me on the head. Other guards had to force him to get off me. I have a severe headache and wounds on my head.”
Bahs confidential doctor fears for his life. “He has not been drinking for over four days. Physically he is very weak. If you get beaten on your head that bad, it can be fatal.” At half past six the doctor was in front of the door of the prison in Vught waiting for the guards to let her in so she could visit her patient. Only at one minute past six someone opened the door with the announcement that from six pm on visits are no longer allowed. The doctor has tried to register a report regarding the suspectd abuse at the police office in Den Bosch, but she was told that she should come back one week later. The police stated they did not have time to make a report.
The situation within the walls of detention centre Rotterdam are atrocious. Intimidation, threats, isolation cells, various forms of abuse and lack of medical care: the management is not reluctant to use any means possible in order to attempt to break the hunger- and thirst strike by the refugees . Last Saturday it was revealed that at least nine refugees have been physically abused by guards. Earlier thirst striker Nessar has been tortured by not being allowed to sleep while he was in a very cold cell; also various detainees have been put in isolation. Now that the detention centre even uses fighting squads in order to beat up the imprisoned refugees, the question arises how far the board wants to go with these abuses. If they continue this form of repression, it is only a matter of time before the abuse becomes fatal.
The reason why the refugees have stopped eating and / or drinking, is still very simple: they want freedom and protection and they want not to be treated as criminals. It is clear what happens if you stand up for your rights in this country.