© Greg Constantine - www.7doors.org
© Greg Constantine - www.7doors.org

“My detention in Belgium was psychological torture”

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Documentary maker Greg Constantine interviewed a Congolese refugee, who was detained in Belgium for more than 5 months. “To be treated like a criminal here in Europe… I didn’t expect it at all.”

“I left DRC because I worked for a human rights organization. At home, I was detained three times. The first time was for three months. I was tortured.”

“When I arrived here in Belgium, I immediately knew I could ask for asylum, so I did.  And then they immediately put me in detention. I never ever thought I would be put in a prison. It’s a prison. It’s not a detention center. I was in Caricole for two weeks and then in 127Bis for almost five months.”

“The judge said there was no reason for me to be incarcerated”

“I had no idea how long I would be in detention. The reason why I got out after 5 months was because a judge annulled the negative decision.  The judge said there was no reason for me to be incarcerated, that I should be free to work on my asylum claim out of detention.”

“I asked myself, Why was I detained? I lost time!  It wasn’t right. It’s not normal. There are people I know who have been detained for nine months or even a year.  There’s no answer!”

“Detention in Congo was physical torture. But what happens in Belgium, I did not expect. Detention here was psychological torture. To be treated like a criminal here in Europe…I didn’t expect it at all.”

© Greg Constantine – www.7doors.org

© Greg Constantin – Seven Doors

SEVEN DOORS is a long-term documentary project by photographer Greg Constantine.  The project explores how governments are increasingly using detention as a significant component of immigration and asylum policy and exposes the impact, trauma and human cost detention has on asylum seekers, refugees, stateless people and migrants around the world.